Rock Climbing and Your Feet

Ask any rock climber, and they’ll tell you that it’s a really great whole body workout – including your brain! You are challenged with using many muscles that you may have never used before and solving problems to make it to the next step. Until you are climbing regularly, it is possible that each session will leave you with sore forearms and fingers, as well as painful toes.

Yes, that’s right, your toes. In fact, your feet go through a lot in order to properly support you. This is primarily due to the design of climbing shoes. The purpose of the point at the front of the shoe is the give you a singular point of contact with the rocks, so as to be able to grip even the smallest points. Not only do your feet have to cramp into the shoes to ensure a tight fit, they also have to shift all weight toward the big toes. This focused pressure can cause pain and eventually, more severe issues.

Depending on foot shape, shoes, and how aggressively you climb, you may not experience pain or the long-lasting consequences of forcing your feet into strained positions for climbing. Others, however, can experience issues such as bunions, corns and calluses, metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, and even stress fractures. Furthermore, foot health is always a concern when it comes to hygiene. At a busy climbing gym, you are exposed to many germs and diseases like Athlete’s Foot and Ringworm. The enclosed nature of the shoes also makes it more likely for you to have foot odor that persists without proper cleaning.

Here are some tips from us at Fords Foot and Ankle Care:

  • When purchasing climbing shoes, consult with a seasoned climber or the store salesperson; they should help you find shoes that are snug but not pain-inducing.
  • Clean your hands, feet, and shoes often. This will reduce foot hygiene issues.
  • Take off your shoes to stretch and rest in between climbs.

If you have questions about the condition of your feet before climbing, it is best to come see our board-certified podiatrist, Carl Ingrassia, DPM. We can also help you treat any issues that may arise from climbing. Make an appointment at our Fords, NJ office by calling (732) 738-4441. We serve the surrounding Westfield area too!