Foot Pain help

10:21 p.m. on November 29, 2016 (EST)
Jared Hammond
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2 forum posts

In a few months I am planning to climb Kilimanjaro so I have been going on training hikes. I'm pretty new to a this stuff and have started to experience pretty severe pain in my ankles after only a few miles (4-5). The pain is mostly on the outside of the leg just above the ankle bone. It is not a blister but feels more like pain in a tendon. I first got this pain in a pain of Merrel Capra Mid boots and more recently in a pair of Asolo Fugitives. There does not appear to be anything on either pair of boots that would rub to cause the pain. The hikes were longer (10-20 mi) because I needed to test the equipment. I wasn't using any different lacing than the standard and I had on good socks.

Has anyone experienced this and knows how to address it? I'm not sure what to do. 

9:38 a.m. on November 30, 2016 (EST)
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494 forum posts

When all else fails, consult a physician...

8:51 p.m. on November 30, 2016 (EST)
Bill S
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6,037 forum posts

As hikermor says, it sounds like you need to consult a physician, preferably a sports medicine specialist.

You say that the pain in the ankles starts after just a few miles (4-5). Then you mention of 10-20 miles. Generally, you want to start training with short hikes (5 miles at most), and build gradually.

You don't say if you are carrying loads on your hikes. You should be starting with a fairly light pack, maybe 10 pounds (your limit on Kilimanjaro will be 10 pounds, with the porters carrying all your other gear - I assume you know that the rule on Kili from the Tanzanian authorities is that you are required to have a local guide, local cook, and local porters - if you are hiring a US or Euro - based guide service, you are paying a high price for them - our total cost including air fare for the flight, tour of the Serengeti and Ngorogoro crater and my Kilimanjoro hike - my wife had a injured knee, so skipped the hike and went home early) was about $10,000. If you go on a tour that includes US or Euro "guides" you will sped more than that per person. The distance each day is quite short, about 5 hours or less. This made it hard for me, since my hiking rate got me to the next camp in 3-4 hours. My guide kept complaining that I was going too fast (not Pole-pole, which means slowly slowly). I acclimatize fast, but about 40% turn back on the Coca-Cola Route, and 50-60% on the Whiskey route, due to altitude sickness.

Take it slow and easy so you can acclimatize and not have to turn back.

Still, it is important that you build up gradually on level trails at first, then later add in inclines. It is also a good idea to use trekking poles. By the way, Kili is a "climb" in name only. It is actually a hike on good trails, although you do have an altitude gain of some 13,000 ft, spread over 5 days (CocCola Route - which is pushing it way to hard for most people) or 8 days on the Whiskey route or 10 days or so on the easiest routes.

You may want to read my Africa trip report at

11:43 p.m. on November 30, 2016 (EST)
Sean Van Cleve
11,938 reviewer rep
469 forum posts

+1 on hikermor and Bill S... Podriatrist referral, gait analysis, and rX orthotics have helped my pain more than anything. I couldn't recommend more than going to the pros. Severe ankle injury, Plantar Fasciitis, spinal injury, and poor biomechanics have all been improved as best possible...

3:26 a.m. on December 1, 2016 (EST)
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3,550 forum posts

What is your age?  I ask, because if you are into your thirties, or more, you are apt to know if you are predisposed to leg or foot issues, and under what circumstances.  It may be you are just not in walking condition.  Go slow in the start, bones and tendons toughen at their own speed, pushing beyond that is needless, possibly harmful.

What surface are you walking on (soft/hard trail, smooth/uneven under foot, pavement, etc.).  The surface may also affect you.

What is your age?  These aches remind me of the price one pays later in life, when they go too long without activity, then try to get back into it again.

Most importantly do see a sports doc, he will be able to ascribe various self administered physical therapy routines to strengthen your chassis, as well provide medical remediation should that be necessary.



7:02 a.m. on December 1, 2016 (EST)
Jared Hammond
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2 forum posts

let me provide a bit more info. I am in my early 30's (33). I was suffering from some PF earlier this year and went to a podiatrist. I was given some stretches and some orthotics that have really helped. This ankle pain has started after that. The hikes have been on wooded trails, nothing super rough or hard. I'd say I'm pretty active and have been for years. I usually run or bike regularly amonst other activities. This summer I would hike 5-10 miles about ever other weekend without any problems. I was wearing a low hiking shoe (Merrel) on these hikes though and this was before the orthotics. Also, I am carrying some weight but under 20 lbs: a pack with a 3L water bladder, maybe an extra layer, and a 10 lb weight.  My trip to Africa is with guides.

I appreciate the help. Hopefully the info above explains a bit more. I'll start looking for a sports doc  


May 24, 2020
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