Did you start 2024 on the right paw?
We were surprised to learn that January was Walk Your Dog Month, knowing that all our Lymington Chiropractic Clinic Community dog owners walk their pooches at least once a day! But we thought some consideration of it was an excellent way to celebrate our fabulous New Forest and surrounding coastal region and show an appreciation of how much our K9 friends do to support our physical and emotional well-being.
And, of course, it’s a good opportunity for receptionist Sally to share more pics of her lovely boy @gsp_mulberry – as if she needed any more excuses! Do you recognise any of their favourite Forest walks and pit stops?
Rain or shine, it’s always dog walking time! And all other weather conditions in between. Some days recently have been particularly challenging, with torrential downpours creating muddy, boggy terrain and paths becoming rivers in places. Not to mention the frozen ground and ice that followed.
With this in mind, our concern, as ever, is your safety and well-being. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for your dog.
This time of year, most dog walkers reach for their wellies. But have you ever considered the strain wearing wellies can put on your body?
Massage therapist Hannah often sees patients with welly boot injuries and had the following to say:
Make sure your wellingtons are in good condition, fit well and are as light as possible.
Heavy, clumpy wellies can really put a strain on your feet, legs and muscles around your hips, resulting in overworked and painful areas.
Also, you’d be surprised how many people can hurt themselves by taking wellies off! Try not to use the other foot to slide the welly off but rather sit and use your hands or a boot jack.
When using a boot jack, make sure that your other foot is fully and squarely on the jack and hold onto something for support before levering your foot from your boot.
Podiatrist Paul is also concerned by the extra strain walking in the winter months has on our feet as they carry us through different terrains and conditions.
For the New Forest and other rural areas, Paul recommends choosing walking shoes or boots. The terrain here can be uneven, with deep ruts in narrow tracks and paths, slippery, grassy, muddy, icy, hard and frozen. There may be brambles, low branches and obstacles to climb over, such as wooden stiles, and to cross, such as boardwalks. You may be walking alongside rivers and streams or stony or sandy coastlines. In these conditions, walking boots give you ankle support, grip and stability, as well as being waterproof and breathable.
Paul also recommends keeping your walking gear in good condition. He says that after a walk, you should brush off or wipe away any dirt and allow your boot or shoe to dry naturally before putting it away. If they are particularly wet, stuffing them with newspaper can help to keep their shape while they dry out. Clean with manufacturer-recommended cleaning products regularly and reapply water-proofer as required.
Check for wear and tear on the soles, as this is a sign that your boots or shoes may need replacing.
Your sock choice is important, too. This time of the year, it’s best to opt for wool or silk rather than cotton to keep moisture away from your skin.
It’s just as important that your socks fit well for your comfort and to avoid blisters. So, choose the right size and make sure that they will stay in place on the foot, fitting well around the toes and heel. Many shoe and boot manufacturers make socks to be worn with their shoes. You could also try double-thickness or dual-layer socks.
You may like to read Paul’s blog post A PODIATRIST’S GUIDE TO WINTER WALKING IN THE TOWN AND COUNTRY for more walking information.
Of course, niggles and strains may still creep in, and slips and falls can happen. If they do, then we are here to help with chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and podiatry treatments. It’s not just our pooches who need pampering post-walk!
And watch out for those wellies!