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Among the many attractive perks within The Woodlands Hills are an abundance of paved and natural pathways and trails for those who enjoy walking, hiking and running. It’s important to know that these athletic endeavors can require a little TLC for the feet.

According to Podiatrists Dr. Timothy Casperson, DPM, FACFAS and Dr. Gurpreet Mukker-Casperson, DPM, FACFAS, of Conroe Foot Specialists, running, hiking and walking can require different footwear and care to help you avoid pain and injuries. One type of shoe doesn’t necessarily fit all three activities. For example:

  • Running shoes – are not just for runners. They are light-weight and breathable, with extra support and cushion all over the shoe.  Perfect for walkers too!    
  • Casual walking shoes – are generally heavier, made of leather and not enough support for exercise. 
  • Hiking shoes – are designed with a high top to help prevent ankle injuries.

“Most shoes on the market are made for looks – just fashion and style,” they explained.

It is important to correctly support the major joints and preserve the function of the foot and ankle, they recommended. Taking a moment to stretch your calf muscles before and after walking, hiking and/or running can be advantageous as well.

“Muscles are naturally tight so they can adequately flex or extend a joint,” adds Dr. Mukker-Casperson. “Muscles over time can become too tight or contracted which can cause pain and dysfunction to the lower extremities. For some patients, tight hamstrings may cause lower back or knee pain, similarly, tight calf muscles contribute to many foot and ankle conditions we treat in the office. We need to actively stretch our muscles daily to keep our joints moving freely and help prevent dysfunction. The most important lower extremity stretch is the calf or runners stretch performed two to three times throughout the day as well as before and after exercise.”

Do you necessarily have to spend a lot of money for proper footwear?

“This is one of our most common questions,” said Dr. Casperson. “Unfortunately, not all footwear is created equal. Some of the most fashionable shoes that are the most expensive are also the worst for the health and longevity of your feet! Shoes are made from man-made materials that eventually wear out. We recommend purchasing new athletic shoes every three-to-four months (if they are worn every day) to maintain the health of your feet and ankles.”

Residents of The Woodlands Hills can enjoy miles of nature-laced, interconnected hike-and-bike trails – set along a gently rolling terrain. Getting some great cardiovascular exercise outdoors around The Woodlands Hills by walking, hiking, or running is good for your physical and mental health. Best of all … it’s free!