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Ankle Rashes/Welts Post Hiking

Wondered if anyone experienced or know of a solution to getting really bad rashes and welting around were socks meet ankles and wearing high top hiking boots. Strangely I wore these same boots with sock liners and Darn Tough socks many times before and never had an issue. I use unscented detergent no softener so I don't think it's allergy related. Thinking to apply an organic lotion moisturizing bar to skin and just wrapping ankles with a Leukotape/sport tape before hike. Any suggestions or good results out there??






8 Replies


Thanks for reaching out, although we're sorry to hear it's because you experienced swelling and welts after hiking.

Interestingly enough, I had a similar experience recently after mountain biking. When I jumped in the shower after the ride the inside of my left ankle felt like it had been lit on fire as soon as the water hit it. I had a bunch of dings and scratches on my other leg (thanks blackberry bushes of Washington) but those were nothing compared to this. After the shower the inside of my ankle welted up and I had a red patch for about 12 hours afterward. My best guess is that I got into some stinging nettle and that was the result (I have had very similar reactions to stinging nettle on my arms in the past).

Did you have these welts on both ankles? Is it just on the inside or does it go all the way around your ankle?

We'd be curious to hear if your taping idea solves it. Another option could be a lightweight gaiter to keep your lower leg protected.

We're going to move this thread over to the hiking board to see if anyone else in the community at large has any thoughts.

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

The rash is mostly around the inside calf I'm sure due to socks rubbing or chafing skin. Didn't go through any brush or bushes pretty clear path. I think my high top boot was tied a little too tight around ankles.  Will definitely try using tape around ankles next time. Thanks!


The same sort of rash happens to me especially in hot weather and when wearing polypropylene sock liners. The best I can diagnose is Heat rash [Mayo Clinic.] Looks like your photo and very itchy. They recommend treatment "Calamine lotion to soothe itching [and] Anhydrous lanolin, which may help prevent duct blockage and stop new lesions from forming." They also offer some tips to avoid it and home remedies. 

In my experience it happens most often at the start of a trip then goes away on its own in a few days.


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Could definitely be heat rash since it was pretty hot along with my chafing socks. Fortunately no itching! Just a bit tender. I will check out the Mayo clinic site and try the cream. Good thing it was a backpack training run only so I can be prepared for the real deal next week! It's funny, I tighten my boot laces a more because I struggled with heel blisters last trip, instead get a nasty ankle rash! If it's not one thing it's another! right?! Will need to perfect the art of foot taping too. Thanks so much for the advice!


Heat rash/moisture buildup, I’d bet on it, just put some lotion on it and let it dry out but it will take a couple of days/a week to heal

REI Member Since 1979

My initial thoughts echo what everyone else is saying, heat rash.  Heat rash will usually resolve on its own if given time to air out.  I prefer non-steroidal creams (something other than hydrocortisone) unless a dr says otherwise.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
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I get this EVERY single time I hike in the heat! Glad to see I’m not alone. I have tried liners with my wool socks, liners without wool but synthetic, no liners, different hiking pants, applying creams first before socks….guess what? As long as it is hot outside, the rash persists. It is always the inner ankle, never spreading all the way around. I do a ton of winter hiking and wear the same sock combinations but the rash never occurs in cool temperatures. If you figure out a course of action that works, please let me know:)


YES, EVERY time I hike in the heat! Glad to see I am not alone. I have tried different liners each with and without wool socks, different pants, no bug spray, creams before socks, and still the rash persists. It stays within the inside of my ankles but does sometimes spread above my sock line. I also continue hiking throughout the winter months and have never experienced the rash in the cool months(wearing the same footwear combinations). If you figure out a method that keeps it at bay, please let me know!