Perfecting My Foot

Foot Care Tips For Equestrians

As an equestrian, you probably spend a lot of time and money maintaining your horse's feet. No hoof, no horse — right? But while taking care of your horse's feet is certainly essential to succeed in this sport, you should not be neglecting your own feet, either. Spending day after day in boots, walking through arenas and pastures, is not exactly easy on you. Here are some ways to take better care of your feet.

1. Buy boots with sneaker bottoms.

This one is especially important for you English riders. Tall boots may look nice, but the footbeds on some of them are flat and uncomfortable. Some brands have begun to make tall boots with sneaker foot beds, and these are by far a better choice for foot health. The cushioning will help prevent arch conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, that can result from spending all day in boots with no support.

2. Keep your toenails trimmed.

Ingrown toenails are a real issue with riders. Boots tend to put pressure on the tops of your toes, especially when you are riding, and this can lead to ingrown toenails, particularly if you do not keep your toenails trimmed. When you cut your nails, always cut straight across; this makes the edges of the nail less likely to dig under the skin. Trim your toenails every two weeks, if not more often. 

3. Change out of muddy boots.

Fungal infections like athlete's foot love moist feet. If you step in a puddle leading your horse out to the pasture, and you have four more horses to work that day, don't just slog along with wet feet the rest of the morning. Keep an extra pair of socks and an extra pair of boots at the barn so you can change and keep your feet dry, reducing the risk of blisters and infections. And if your boots are leaking often, it may be time to get a newer, more water-resistant pair.

4. Wear thick socks in the winter.

Those thin boots socks may make it easy to pull on your tall boots, but when it's January, they are not doing much to keep your feet warm. If your feet get too cold, you could get frost bite, or you could pull a muscle. The muscles in your feet do a lot of work when you're in the saddle, particularly if you are riding English, so you want to make sure they are warm and flexible to prevent strains and pulls. Thick, wool socks are the way to go once it's cold out.

Reach out to a podiatrist for more assistance caring for your feet.