How can I avoid or minimize foot/ankle swelling and lower leg rash?

by Susan
(FL)

In Spain we hiked 5 - 8 miles daily for 6 days over varied terrain.
The weather was a comfortable 80 degrees (there was intermittent shade).
There were a few strenuous areas, but mostly a moderate hike.
I wore sock liners, wool socks and good boots.
My ankles and feet were swollen every day and I developed this ugly red rash on my lower legs - bright red, splotchy, no itching, no pain though. It faded slightly overnight, as did the swelling, but both continued each day. I don't think anything has changed for me (laundry soap, socks, etc.) This has never happened before.

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Aug 30, 2017
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Thoughts from Hiking For Her
by: Diane

Well, that sounds unpleasant, Susan!
Because the rash faded a bit overnight, then came back, makes me think it could be contact dermatitis from unfamiliar plant oils or allergens in trail dust/dirt which you were encountering during the day.
If the rash cleared up quickly once you came off the trail, that makes this idea more likely.
One more idea: when that much fluid accumulates and there are bright red areas on your legs, it's possible that your double sock/boot combo is restricting blood and lymph flow & creating inflammation over the course of the day. Taking them off a few times each day (let those footsies breathe!) is a habit I adhere to when I'm on multi-day trips, and going forward you might want to try it.

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