All Kinds of Blistered Feet

July 29, 2006 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Last night I got home from the Badwater Ultramarathon. This 135-mile road race takes runners from Death Valley to the Mt. Whitney Portal at the southeastern end of California’s Sierra’s. We were treated to the beauty of the desert, especially at night. The heat you ask? The highest I heard mentioned was 123F. Of course that’s air temperature. The road, where the runners are, can get anywhere from 40 to 70 degrees hotter. I saw someone with an iron skillet sitting in the sun—waiting to fry an egg.
Dscf0060_1     Since my life revolves around feet, what did I see? Let me describe what I saw and patched. Virtually none of the 85 starters had feet untouched from trauma and blisters. The most common was toe blisters. These were most often at the cuticle of the toenail from pressure pushing the toenail back into the cuticle. In many of these, the blister lifts up the nail off the nailbed. Second most common were blisters on the heels and the balls of the feet. And finally, many had blisters extending between the toes. Toes, far and away, took the most beating.
Dscf0047     The largest was one from the base of the little toe down underneath a callus on the ball of the foot, and across the mid-foot to the other side of the foot. I could see fluid moving under the loose skin.
     Some had blood in the blister—evidence of trauma from pounding or pressure. These are particularly difficult to manage. The general rule is not to pop a blister if there is blood inside because it opens up the circularity system to possible infection. But, the runners want to continue, so you pop the blister, patch it carefully, and give them special instruction of its care.
Fixingyourfeet1_3     I patched quite a few feet and Gillian of, patched a lot too. In the coming posts, I’ll talk about some of these blisters, how to best avoid them, and how to patch them.
     As a side note, take a moment and check out my new website, and read about the new 4th edition of my book, titled, what else, Fixing Your Feet. If you don’t have it and you are an athlete, you need it. If you have an earlier edition, it’s time to upgrade to get all the new information and tips. After all, it’s important to keep our feet happy.

Extreme Conditions for Feet

July 22, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports 

Sunday I leave to help at the 135 mile Badwater Ultramarathon that takes runners from Death Valley to the Mt. Whitney Portal. Many of the runners continue on to the summit of Mt. Whitney, another 10 miles—making it a run from the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere (280’ below sea level) U.S. to the highest in the contiguous U.S. Run on the road, the race exposes runners to extreme heat, up to 130F, and possible sandstorms.
     My role will be to provide foot care as part of the medical team. Don and Gillian, the owners of will be there too helping with foot care. With the recent heat wave, it is expected to be hot—with predictions of 122F. The pavement can be even hotter!
     So how will extreme heat affect the runner’s feet? For some, their shoes may come apart. Some will pour water over themselves in an effort to cool off, and the water will run down into their shoes—in many cases causing blisters to form. Some will blister from the distance, from wearing shoes that become too tight when their feet swell, from the rubbing of the socks or the shoes on their feet, from friction, and from heat.
     We will tape feet, apply blister patches, lubricant or powder, file toenails, file calluses, modify shoes to eliminate hot spots and friction, and more. Our arsenal of gear includes Micropore tape, Kinesio tape, self-adhering wrap, tincture of benzoin, alcohol wipes, Body Glide, Hydropel, Gurney Goo, Zeasorb powder, lots of Spenco products (2nd Skin, Blister Pads, QuikStik Pads), 2×2 gauze, scalpels and needles, gloves, nail drills, nail files, callus files, several types of scissors, tweezers, Engo Patches, antimicrobial wipes, and a few other items.
     When I get back next weekend, I will give a report on the challenges we faced, and what worked and what didn’t work. These are extreme conditions for feet and it will take a lot to keep them happy. We’ll do our best.

FIXING YOUR FEET E-zine: 4th edition of Fixing Your Feet, New Web Site, & No More Pain

July 20, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 


Volume 6, Issue 7, July 2006
John Vonhof, Footwork Publications
Copyright, July 2006, All rights reserved


My article talks about the release of the 4th edition of Fixing Your
. Twyla Carolan is back with an article about trigger release titled No More Pain. There is
one photo in the Bad Feet section, a foot care tip, and a whole bunch
of reader feedback.


The Fixing Your Feet E-zine is published monthly to inform and educate
athletes and non-athletes about proper foot care skills and techniques,
provide tips on foot care, review foot care products, and highlight
problems people have with their feet.

Read more

Fixing Your Feet, 4th Edition is Available

July 20, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare 

It’s amazing how much time it takes to get a new edition up and running. But, after much sweat and research, the 4th edition of Fixing Your Feet is at the publisher. So, I guess the big question is why should you spend your hard earned dollars on the new edition. Let me answer that question.

     First, Demetri ‘Coup’ Coupounas, the founder of Golite, was generous and wrote a great Foreword about putting your feet first.

Fixingyourfeet1_1      Secondly, there are three new large chapters. The Best of 10 Years of Foot Care opens the book with 11 pages of what I consider the key learning’s of my 10 years of writing and doing foot care. You Can Have Healthy and Happy Feet is four pages about, well, keeping our feet healthy and happy. The third new chapter is 12 Mega-Distance Athletes Talk About Foot Care, which tops out at a lengthy 14-1/2 pages. Each was asked the same set of 11 questions about how they managed their feet during their adventures. I am particularly proud of this chapter as it features 12 individuals who have accomplished more than most of us would even think of trying:

1.      Bob Brown – Completed the Trans-America Race, the Trans-Australia run, and recently a 3,000 mile Trans-Europe run through eight countries.

2.      Demetri ‘Coup’ Coupounas – Solo unsupported and unresupplied fastpacks of Colorado’s Colorado Trail, Vermont’s Long Trail, California’s John Muir Trail.

3.      David Horton – Completed the Trans-America Race, held the speed record on the Appalachian Trail for years, and in 2005 set the speed record on the 2,666-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in 66 days and seven hours.

4.      Bruce W. Johnson – Ran across the U. S. from Oceanside, California to Virginia Beach, Virginia in 105 days.

5.      Ted ‘Cave Dog’ Keiser – Fastpacks and runs trails and mountain peaks. Recently completed a 50-KM hike in all 50 states in less than 100 days.

6.      Sue Norwood – Hiked the Appalachian Trail in 148 days.

7.      Jesper Olsen – Ran 16,263 miles, circling the globe in his World Run starting January 1, 2004 and finishing on October 23, 2005.

8.      Andrew Skurka – In 2005 made the first completion of the 7,700 mile Sea-to-Sea Route spanning the continent between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in 339 days.

9.     Andrew ‘Traildog’ Thompson – In 2005 set a new speed record on the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail in 47 days and 13 hours. 

10.  Steve Vaught – Calling himself “The Fat Man Walking,” he is walking from San Diego to New York City to lose weight and regain his life.

11.  Jonathan Williams – Ran across the U.S. in just over four months from Newport Beach, California to Newport, Rhode Island in 2005.

12.  Matt Wyble – Ran across the U.S. from Atlantic City to Lincoln, Oregon in 2005 (with Brandon Newlin).

Then there are new sections in existing chapters. Some of these include: Brand Loyalty in Footwear,

Choosing Lightweight Footwear, Custom Shoes, Discount Shoes, Innovation in Shoes, Sockless or

Barefoot, Tossing Socks, Gait, Pedicures and Pedicures for Men, Airing Your Feet, Aching Feet,

Preventing Blister Infection, When Your Ankle Still Hurts, Cortisone Injections, and a host more.

Plus more information on Rashes, Athlete’s Foot, Toe Nail Fungus and Toenail Care and a whole lot

more. And of course, a lot of your personal experience stories.

     I added a lot of new products with their source information, and verified URLs for existing products. The book retains the two indexes, a general index and a product index.

     I estimated that the new content would add at least 40 new pages to the book. However, Wilderness Press (the publisher) decided to reduce the size of the text rather than add a bunch more pages so it ended up only seven pages longer. Still, it’s 352 pages and the post office tells me it’s 1 1/2 pounds.

     Am I proud of the 4th edition? You bet. But even more, I am proud of how many of you have been contributors with your stories and tips. I have gained new friends and have received great feedback from those the book has helped.

Have I talked you in to ordering a copy? If so, there are several ways to order it. The new retail price is $18.95 but these days no one pays full price! So, I am offering the book at 25% off. You can order it at my new website at

Once you get your copy, I’d love your feedback. Send me an email with your thoughts. Thanks.

A New Blister Patch – 2nd Skin QuikStik from Spenco

July 12, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

For years I have used Spenco products to patch blisters. 2nd Skin has been a long time favorite that is always in my foot care box. Now Spenco has come out with a new prodiuct that is easier to use. Their new 2nd Skin QuikStik Adhesive Dressings combine a soft, moist hydrogel pad with an ultrathin adhesive film.
48231l01     I like them. Spenco sent me some samples to use in Costa Rica and they worked well. The samples had a covering that peeled off each side to keep the pads sterile. The packaging may have changed but I would assume the covering is still there. What I liked about these pads is they have an adhesive edge, unlike plain 2nd Skin which requires a tape covering to hold it in place. The pads can easily be stowed in a fanny pack for any activity where you might incur a hot spot or blister.
     The moist pad will not stick to the wound (to prevent reinjury when the pad is removed) and the dressing may be left in place for up to five days.
     The Spenco product information says, “Ideal for first aid treatment of minor burns, scrapes, blisters, road rash, stings, bites, poison ivy or any surface skin wound. One-step application to cool and soothe minor burns, scrapes and surface skin wounds on contact. Adhesive ultra-thin film keeps the dressing in place for up to 5 days. (Latex free)”
     The pads come in a Combo pack with 1 Large Sterile Pad (44mm x 74mm), and 3 Small Sterile Pads (26mm x 56mm); a Small Pack with 5 Small Sterile Pads (26mm x 56mm); and a Large Pack with 3 Large Sterile Pads (44mm x 74mm).
     These are so new that Spenco has not even added them to their Web site. However, you can get them today at They have them for the best price on the Web! Click thru and go to the Store and then the Foot Care section of their Web site.
     As usual, my advice is to use a tape adherent to make sure they stick well.

Watch and Wash Your Heels

July 5, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

This past weekend was great. Four days off in a row. As usual, I spent quite a bit of time gardening. My Teva sandals are fairly old but still sturdy and most importantly, comfortable.
     I start most Saturday’s by using a callus file to remove the hard spots and callus buildup. Then I rub a good callus reducing cream all over my heels. This helps keep the skin soft while wearing sandals. I usually use Zim’s Crack Creme, Weleda’s Skin Food, or Total Foot Recovery Cream from Podiatrist’s Secret. I don’t skimp on the amount.
Images_12     By the end of the day, the skin on my heels is dirty and has started to harden. Going in the pool helps but it is important to wash my feet at the end of the day. I am amazed at the amount of dirt finding it’s way into the pores and small minor cracks of my skin. Then I apply another light coat of the cream. This is repeated on Sunday.
     This regiment has helped keep the calluses on my heels under control. I like wearing sandals but I know wearing them day after day, without proper skin care, will lead to calluses and hardened skin—and later cracks in the top layers of skin. I also use the cream several times on weekdays. There’s no sense in letting my skin go during the week even if I am not wearing sandals all day.
     Take a few minutes and stop by your friendly neighborhood drug store and pick up a container of callus reducer cream. Use it and you’ll help your feet be happy.

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