FIXING YOUR FEET E-zine – Blisters, Resources & Tips, Survey and more..

September 29, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 


Volume 8, Issue 9, September 2008 –
John Vonhof, Footwork Publications –
Copyright, September 2008, All rights reserved

This issue has an editorial on What Should Go On Your Blisters?. It also has information on foot care resources, an intelligent shoe survey, a foot care tip, a new bad feet photo, reader feedback, and the Hero camera in the non-feet good stuff section.

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.

For me, blister care has been an ongoing science. I started with taping with duct tape more than 20 years ago. Over time I tried as many tapes as I could find. Working in the medical field, I had access to a variety of tapes and saw how they stuck and whether or not they conformed to the shape of the patient would area. I have bags of tape at home, much of which I don’t use anymore. Yes, I have my favorites. However, I also realize that other tapes are right at certain times and/or under certain conditions.

I have had the same experience with blister patches. I have seen and tried a lot over the years. Some have come and gone, some have changed names, and new ones have been developed. Here are the names of a few of the common ones available today:
Spenco 2nd Skin
Spenco QuikStik Adhesive Dressings
Spenco Sport Blister Pads
Engo Blister Prevention Patches
GlacierGel Advanced Blister and Burn Dressings

These products are also available through

There is also a host of others that are harder to find – many in medical distributor’s catalogues. In some cases, they are as good as some of the ones above, but their names are not commonly known – and their companies don’t actively market them to athletes.

Clinical research shows that a moist wound heals better, faster and reduces the risk of scar formation. In cases where cushioning and protection of the blister is desired, the Spenco and GlacierGel products are great choices. These are often cases of blisters in tender areas or pressure points.

If that cushioning is not needed, and you simply want an anti-friction layer over the blister, the Blist-O-Ban and Engo products work great. These can be blisters that are in softer non-tender areas or non-pressure points.

So, which is the best? Which should you use? In my opinion, I’d choose to carry one product in each category. That way you are prepared for whatever hits you. There are occasions where you might use a moist pad along with an Engo patch and I often want that option. In the same situation, a moist pad and Blist-O-Ban would not work well together. (If some of you have tried this, please let me know.)

Remember that the real moist patches (Spence 2nd Skin and GlacierGel) require tape over them to hold them in place. Spenco’s QuikStik Adhesive Dressings and Sport Blister Pads are not as moist and have an adhesive edge to hold them in place. So, if you are looking for an easy-to-carry patch, those two Spenco patches, along with Blist-O-Ban and excellent choices. Toss in an Engo patch, a few alcohol wipes and a pin, and you have a nice, small blister kit for your fanny pack.

So, the question is, “What do you put on your blisters?”

If you want to comment on this piece, please send me an email.

The 4th edition of Fixing Your Feet can be ordered through my web site,, or If you have any of the older editions, you need this one. It has three new chapters, lots of new sections, and is completely updated. The retail price is $18.95 but most sites, including mine, have it at a reduced rate.

Please take a moment and forward this issue to a friend or two and encourage them to subscribe.

Erik Roby is with a group of engineers from the University of Washington working on a new type of intelligent shoe that will be capable of real-time gait analysis in an attempt to reduce injury and increase performance for runners. After competing in the UW Business Plan Competition last spring they decided to move forward with their project and are currently developing a prototype. More information can be found at Advanced Motion Technologies. Gait analysis is a Ladyrunner
technique that measures joint motion and forces to diagnose movement pathologies, determine the severity of injury, select treatment options and monitor progress, and predict prognosis.

The team has created a survey to help direct the development of the prototype (what features do runners want, how the interface would work, etc.). Please take a moment to complete this important survey related to the development of an intelligent shoe capable of real-time gait analysis. Your responses are critical to us. This survey should take 10 minutes or less to complete. Take the Survey here. Thanks for your help.

GlacierGel – If you have tried Spenco’s Second Skin, you will probably like GlacierGel Advanced Blister and Burn Dressings from Adventure Medical Kits. These dressings, what I call “blister patches,” utilize a patented second-generation hydrogel technology. The breathable, waterproof adhesive gels are extremely cushioning, absorbent, and cooling. It provides fast and complete pain relief. GlacierGel contains 50% water and provides an immediate and effective protection against subsequent friction to the sensitive skin. It should stay in place for 3-4 days.

GlacierGel Blister and Burn Dressings work by:
• Preventing rubbing against a growing blister, open wound, or burn
• Cooling the blister as the pad simultaneously absorbs moisture from it
• Providing an instant cushion for the problem area with the 50% water dressing that prevents further friction on sensitive skin

Kits typically contain a combination of small (1 x 1-1/4 inches) bandages and large (1-3/4 x 3 inches) bandages. These dressing are available through

Gilden Tree – This Nebraska based company makes skin care products that should interest athletes. I recently has occasion to try a few of their products for feet. I appreciate the frankness of the statement on the brochure that came with the products. It said about having healthy feet, “…it requires some common sense, a little stick-to-it-ive-ness, and a few good products.” I agree. Over the years, I have seen people fail at getting to healthy feet because they lacked the stick-to-it-ive-ness. They keep it up for a while, and then forget or get tired of the work.

Gilden Tree offers help in their brochure. A simple table describes four types of feet: good, normal, problem, and a fast emergency 080627_gildentree-169_225px
plan. For each of the four types, four steps are offered to keep or get your feet in tip-top shape. For example, for problem feet, the recommended plan is 1) once a week soak feet with Revitalizing Foot Soak, 2) scrub feet with Exfoliating Foot Scrub with the Foot Scrubber after the soaking and after every shower, 3) use Nourishing Foot Cream every morning, and 4) apply 95% Shea Butter Balm twice a week. The emergency plan is a seven-day plan to reduce rough, dry skin.

Their organic foot-care products include:
• Exfoliating Foot Scrub – a creamy, deep-cleansing scrub that leaves skin soft
• Revitalizing Foot Soak – salt crystals infused with Shea Butter to draw out toxins, soften and revitalize feet
• Nourishing Foot Cream – a gentle cream that helps to heal and soften feet
• 95% Shea Butter Balm – a balm that melts into dry skin
• Foot Scrubber – hand-formed, sun-dried and hot-fired so it will never wear out

I use the products for several months and they work. The 95% Shea Butter Balm is really great stuff. The Foot Scrubber should always be used on wet skin. The unique terra cotta scrubber is course on one side and more fine on the other. It will last forever. I think Gilden Tree has a winner in their products. If you are looking for a series of foot care products to take good care of your feet, given them a try.

Watch Your Step – a short piece in the April issue of Backpacker magazine gave some important information. It’s an important piece. Two studies are quoted that concluded that a Images
sprained ankle is more likely to ruin your next outing – not dehydration, hypothermia, or other feared medical emergencies. A sprained ankle – that’s it. The short piece said the lesson is to simply watch your step. While I agree, I’d go one step further and advise athletes to learn how to hike and run trails. Foot placement can be learned. Ankles can also be strengthened – an important thing to do if you are prone to sprains. The simplest exercise is to stand on one foot with your arms out to the side. When you think you are good, close your eyes, making it much harder. This works the muscles of the foot and ankle.

This month’s bad feet photo is from years ago when I worked an aid station at the Cool 50km. I believe the aid station was around mile six. As runners came through, I watched 200203241638852 copy
who had gaiters and who didn’t. This photo, of course, is of a runner who chooses not to wear gaiters. Love the mud. My recollection was the early part was muddy, with some later on at different points in the race. Try and figure out how this runner would change socks, or deal with the dirt as it dried and dropped down into his shoes – becoming an irritant and potentially causing blisters. This is a perfect example of where gaiters would have helped. They typically cover the tops of the shoes, and the laces. I have always been a strong believer of gaiters. This is why.

Mary Gorski wrote about the “Darn nice sock people.” Here’s her story.

“It’s nice to have a good experience with a business that stands behind its products. On the advice of several people, I bought and used Drymax socks for my first Badwater attempt this summer. They were touted as being great at blister prevention. At Badwater, I only had one blister so they certainly lived up to the claims. However, I was disappointed in that the socks didn’t seem to hold up too well for me. I got holes in the toe area of two pairs (and yes, I trim and file my nails frequently) and one of the socks of a third pair stretched out during Howl and the Moon and slid into my shoe.
Bummer. The socks were a bit more expensive than what I usually get – I was disappointed that they weren’t holding up well. But again, I was happy in that they helped to keep my feet happy at Badwater.
Last week I decided to go to the Drymax website and send the company a note about my experience with their product. Soon after, I had a phone call from a company rep. He quizzed me about my use of the socks, how I washed them (bleach or no bleach) and the types of running I did with them. He genuinely seemed to want to find out where the weak link in the product was. Before finishing the call, he offered to send me more of his product to try. I said that would be great, figuring that I’d get a couple of pairs of socks to make up for the ones that died an early death.
A few minutes ago a box from Drymax arrived in my mailbox. I received samples of most if not all of their designs, including the Lite Mesh that I had issues with. I haven’t counted, but there must be over a dozen pairs of socks for me to try.
Except for being the recipient of a box of socks, I have no financial interest in Drymax. Just wanted to share a nice experience with a company whose products many runners use.”

Bob from Drymax responded to an email I had sent him about the socks. “I have spoken with two other customers who had wear and tear issues in the toe. Both runners wore out the very end of the toes, we retrieved these socks it was very apparent that the customers had sharp toenails, not the case with Mary. Interestingly, one customer used the Trail sock and the other used the Running 1/4 crew – neither had the Lite Mesh sock. We have sold over 500,000 pairs of socks in the last year and fortunately these comments are isolated. We do have a 100% satisfaction guarantee as well and have very few returns.”

Reader feedback to this E-zine and its articles is welcome and encouraged. Please email any foot care ideas or tips that you have tried and would like to share with others, or ideas for an article for the ezine.

Who doesn’t want photos of their adventures? Sure, we can pack a small camera and stop to try and get some action shots – but honestly, how good is the action? This month I have a cool gadget for you – the GoPro Hero camera. The other day when I took an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, I wished I had one. The three minute pursuit around hairpin turns was a blast and would have been fun to record and watch at home.

Hero Camera
GoPro makes three cameras, the Helmet Hero, the MotorSports Hero and the Digital Hero. The last one, the Digital hero is made to go on your wrist. Yet expansion kits are offered which allow any of the cameras to be attached anywhere and used anywhere. Want to turn your wrist camera into a helmet camera? Need more mounts? Our expansion kits and accessories have all the mounting parts of all three kits minus the actual digital camera. These mount to your wrist, head, helmet, bike, kayak, cars, motorcycles – anything where you can adapt the mounting gear.

These cameras are high quality, waterproof, three megapixel camera and with a 2GB SD card, will hold 56 minutes of TV quality video or 1400 photos shot every five seconds with the “Photo Every 5 Seconds” feature. It has adjustable sound recording features. Powered by two AAA batteries, this is a great toy for the outdoor enthusiast. A 170 degree wide angle camera is also offered with five megapixels and improved low-light performance sensors. These are PC and Mac compatible. The cameras are available from $139.00.

Go to for all the information. The website is great with lots of videos in a variety of sports. With SD cards more affordable, these cameras can be used for long periods of time.

Those of you with the 4th edition of Fixing Your Feet can get a free copy of my booklet, Happy Feet: Foot Care Advice for Walkers and Travelers. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to go to the book’s page—and write a review of the 4th edition. Then send me an email telling me which site the review is on and your snail mail address. I will mail you a free copy of this 36-page booklet. Use it yourself, or give it to someone else. The booklet is described below and has a $5.00 value. Sorry, but because of postage, this offer is good only in the U.S and Canada.

If you like to stay informed about foot care issues and information – on a more regular basis than this monthly newsletter, check out my blog, Happy Feet: Expert Foot Care Advice for People Who Love Their Feet. This is different from this ezine. The Happy Feet blog will have a new short topic every week. Click here for the Happy Feet blog.

I am always on the look out for stories to share about their adventures with some type of connection to feet. If you have something to share, please send me an email.

You are subscribed to the Fixing Your Feet E-zine because you subscribed to it. If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, you can find instructions at the end of this email. We respect the privacy of all subscribers and will not disclose your email address or any information about you to any third party.

If you like this E-zine, please pass it along to others whom you think will benefit from its contents and encourage them to subscribe. They can subscribe the box at the top of this blog or with an email to Yahoo.

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You are welcome to contact me by email about this E-zine or the book Fixing Your Feet.

Hapad Foot Pads

September 19, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Last week I pulled my back
out and so have since grown accustomed to ice and pain medications. Visits to a
local chiropractor have been extremely helpful. In one visit he suggested a
heel pad to help my right to left lean. I immediately thought about Hapad.

Hapad is a great company
that I have not mentioned for a long time. They are highly respected as a
provider of pads for our feet. Here is one quote, “Among orthopaedic foot &
ankle specialists… ‘Hapad products are recognized as the most affordable and
most effective method for treating patients' painful, 
common foot

Hapad products are
manufactured from only the highest quality materials. 100% natural wool felt
provides a comfortable correction. Hapad felt is resilient and long lasting…
yet very affordable. In fact, Hapad products are usually less expensive than
the flimsy foam insoles found in most drug stores. Since these products are
normally recommended by physicians, they are sometimes difficult to find in stores
so Hapad sells directly to you. The pads shown here are metatarsal pads. The pads have an adhesive patch to hold them in place.

Metatarsal, neuroma, tougue,
heel, arch and scaphoid pads; insoles, wedges, and more. These are great
products that I highly recommend. Hapad products are inexpensive and they are
comfortable in hot and cool weather. They can be used to cushion an area, provide padding and support, and can be used for injuries or normal wear.

Give them a call at 800-544-2723
check them out at their website. Your feet will thank you.

Do You Have Unused Shoes?

September 13, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Many of use have extra shoes
in our closets. I do.  I hate
throwing shoes out because I know they are still useful for someone. Recently I
saw an ad for
Soles4Souls and decided to share this with my readers. I have
sent them shoes. It’s easy. I encourage you to look through your closet and send them any unused shoes.

Soles4Souls operates on a
simple concept. They serve as a conduit to get shoes that people no longer need
to those who can use them. They may send shoes to foreign countries or they may
send them to places in the U.S.     


Soles4Souls has a simple
mission: To impact as many lives as possible with the gift of shoes. They facilitate
the donations of shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Shoe
companies, retailers, and individuals can donate footwear (both new and used).
Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS, and donating parties are
eligible for tax advantages.     

Soles4Souls has partnered
with companies to be permanent donation locations. This makes it even easier
for individuals like you to donate your shoes and help those in need around the
world. To find drop-off locations in your state,
click here.

Shoes can also be mailed to
the following locations:

Alabama (Primary Warehouse
Soles4Souls, Inc.
315 Airport Road,
Roanoke, AL 36274

619 Old Hickory Blvd., Old Hickory, TN  37138

Foreign Trade Zone #89,
6620 Escondido Street,
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119 

Protect Your Feet

September 5, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

Today I leave for a two-day
conference and I plan on taking a pair of flip-flops. I often mention this
simple product in a negative sense because many people overuse them and wear
them when they are worn out. Flip-flops do serve as a great foot protector when

Flip-flps are great at
keeping your feet protected when going into common area such as swimming pools,
locker rooms, bathrooms and showers in dorms, and even in bathrooms in a motel.
Who knows what has been on the floors of these places. One can easily pick up a
case of athlete’s foot or plantar warts from someone else’s germs. If you have
any open cuts or healing blisters on your feet, the danger is even greater.

A simple, inexpensive pair
of flip-flops can help protect your feet from all the gunk and stuff on other
people’s feet.

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