Foot Rashes

April 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Health 

Capillaritis is a common rash that affects the legs of athletes. Presenting as a “funky” rash, it simply seems to come out of nowhere and without any related injury. The rash is a harmless skin condition in which there are reddish-brown patches caused by leaky capillaries. As the capillaries become inflammed, tiny red dots appear on the skin. The dots form into a flat red patch, which becomes brown and then slowly starts to fade away. Its cause is often unknown, but it tends to develop after exercise. Many times the rash will appear under the socks and gaiters. The rash may be caused by a reaction to Lycra, a common sock fabric, or other fabrics that irritate your skin. It could also be a heat rash from the combination of trapped sweat and hot temperatures. In extreme cases it will present with fluid-filled blisters. It can reoccur and even persist for years.

A foot rash

A foot rash

Delayed pressure urticaria is a form of swelling or hives, or edema or redness of the skin doe to some form of pressure upon the skin. It can occur under the elastic of socks or gaiters, or from tight shoes. The rash and pain can last from three to 72 hours. Topical applications of benedryl ointment might help, but usually a more potent corticosteroid is required.

Prickly heat rash is caused by a blockage of sweat glands in areas of heavy sweating, usually beneath clothing. This rash appears as red, itchy, inflamed bumps.

Other possible rashes include poison oak or poison ivy, or rashes that develop because of sensitivity to soap, lotion, or fabrics. These can be ruled out by a physician if they persist.

Treating Rashes

Capillaritis will disappear on its own over a few weeks. The use of a hydrocortisone 1% cream will help control the rash and any related itching. A dermatologist or general physician can be consulted if it does not go away on its own. Hand Sense is a protective cream that enhances the natural lipid system by penetrating the outer layer of skin and bonding with the skin to create a soft shield that prevents irritation of the sensitive living tissue underneath. It works to reduce the incident of rashes on the feet plus it reduces perspiration. North American Safety Products.

Maddalena Acconci, better known to adventure racers as MA, has a mix of ingredients she uses for athletes’ rashes. She will often mix a batch based on what she sees on feet and ankles. Her basic concoction is triple antibiotic, hydrocortisone, Bag Balm and either Tea Tree oil or Manuka oil (studies have shown Manuka oil is 20 to 30 times more active than Australian Tea Tree Oil for gram positive bacteria, and 5 to 10 times more active for fungi). MA says:

“If [the rash] is really bad, I use 1% hydrocortisone and Manuka oil. If it’s not so very bad, I use 0.5% hydrocortisone and tea tree oil. Sometimes I find people who react badly to antibiotic creams so I use Burt’s Bees Rescue Ointment which also works great for a whole plethora of race ailments. I don’t know if anything I do is unique, I just do what I think will work. For example, I had a racer develop a very mysterious redness on the soles of his feet. None of us could figure out what it was-just red, nothing else. He really wanted to race but his soles were sensitive. I mixed Benadryl cream with Rescue ointment, rubbed it in, cut a layer of Molefoam to shape and topped it of with a layer of Moleskin. Taped it to hold it together with Leukotape. He wore his slightly larger pair of shoes and a thin double sock combo. It worked, he raced and the rash went away.”

If you are often affected by rashes, try different socks, apply powder under your socks, or wear a thin sockliner made from silk. Prickly heat rash usually lasts for a few days and then disappears on its own, although it may last longer if hot and humid conditions continue.

From Couch Potato to Endurance Runner

April 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Health, Sports 

Dorrian Rhodes is not your average guy. Recently he was 365 pounds. And he decided to achieve something new and challenging. He is an occasional blogger at RunOregon.

Dorrian is on the left

Dorrian is on the left

I revieved a Google alert on my name because Dorrian mentioned my name and Fixing Your Feet in a blog post on April 20. I plan on emailing Dorrian to offer him encouragement. Here are excerpts from Dorrian’s blog post.

“… a year and a half ago, something changed inside and set into motion the idea of a new possibility…that I could complete a 100-mile race. At the time, I was 365 pounds.

There are few obstacles that can’t be overcome without training. At almost four times the distance of a marathon, running a 100-miler seems to suggest that those who do them are not only extremist, but are just plain nuts. For even the advanced and long standing runner, my idea was extreme and far-fetched. Everyone I talked to expressed caution and various medical reports on knee injuries related to force impact.

With that in mind, I started small by walking with my children. I also began to read literature on endurance running, and learned about running shoe construction. Fixing Your Feet by John Vonhof has been instrumental in helping my advancement in running and hiking. Armed with information, inspiration and desire, I slowly began to increase my weekly mileage. After shredding 50 pounds from my body, the journey continues in making this soft hunk of man into a hardened endurance runner.

You may be wondering where to begin. Start with getting to know your feet. Go to a running shoe store like Fit Right, Road Runner Sports, or the Portland Running Company to get your feet evaluated at no cost. All running shoes don’t require running, start with walking daily. I want other obese and overweight people to know that a healthy lifestyle is not beyond your reach. Find your inspiration, be consistent and you are already on your way!”

I commend Dorrian in his adventure. Read his post here at the RunOregon blog.

Blister Prevention – Things You Put Around Your Feet

April 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

What you put around your feet is one of the most important factors in blister prevention. The wrong type of socks or footwear that fits wrong can create pressure points and blisters. This is an area where trying different ideas can really pay off.

  • Use an ENGO patch inside your shoe or on your insole to reduce friction.
  • Wear two pairs of thin socks, a liner sock under a heavier sock, or double layer socks.
  • Always use moisture-wicking socks – no cotton.
  • Wear SealSkinz WaterBlocker socks for really wet conditions.
  • Wear Injinji toe socks if you have frequent toe blisters.
  • For bottom of the feet and heel blisters, try another insole.
  • The heel is the first part of the sock to wear thin. Get new socks before they get too threadbare.
  • Be sure to smooth the heels of your socks, and check the heels of your insoles and the inside of your heel counters for folds and worn or torn material.
  • Replace worn-out shoes.
  • Use shoes that are tested for the event, distance and the elements: cold versus hot, roads versus trails, and wet conditions.
  • Try another pair of shoes-many shoes breathe better than others and are easier on your feet.
  • To drain water, use a red hot nail to burn drain holes on the sides of your shoes right at the sock liner height where the shoe bends.
  • Well-made and well-fit orthotics will help prevent blisters.
  • Wear gaiters to keep rocks, dust, and dirt out of your shoes.

Blister Prevention – Things You Apply to Your Feet

April 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care 

Most athletes hold a common misconception about blisters-that blisters are simply a fact of life that one must learn to live with. Most athletes try tips that they have learned from others. If those don’t work, they move on to another idea. Most try for a while, then give up and spend the rest of their life fixing their inevitable blisters. The fact is there are many ways to prevent blisters.

There are many things you can apply to your feet to help prevent blisters. Lubricants and tape are two of the most popular. Powders are a distant third. Remember that whatever you apply to your feet will react to what you put around your feet. When you apply a lubricant, your socks will pick up some of it, and more applications will be necessary. Tape works well, but tape applied poorly can be pulled loose as you pull on your socks.

In the 3rd and 4th editions of Fixing Your Feet, I had a chapter about 175 Ways to Prevent Blisters. Occasionally, I heard from people about how many of the ideas were confusing and seemed to contradict themselves. So for the 5th edition, I changed the chapter to reflect the best ideas in the different categories. The ideas below are the best in the Things You Apply to Your Feet section.

  • Use a callus cream to soften calluses and prevent friction and resulting blisters.
  • Use one of the popular lubricants to reduce friction. Body Glide, Hydropel Sports Ointment, Bag Balm, BlisterShield Roll-On, Brave Soldier’s Friction Zone, and Sports Slick are the most popular. Reapply each time you change your socks.
  • Use powder to reduce friction. BlisterShield, Zeasorb, Odor-Eater’s, or Gold Bond foot powder
  • Use one of the popular blister patching products: Spenco 2nd Skin. Blist-O-Ban, Bunhead’s Gel Toe Caps
  • Use one of the popular tapes to pre-tape known hot sports or problem areas before your event: Kinesio-Tex. Leukotape, Elastikon, duct tape
  • Use Certain Dri Anti-perspirant or Ban Roll-On on your feet to control perspiration.
  • Use a slick energy gel wrapper between your sock and shoe to reduce friction.
  • Avoid Vaseline – it’s too sticky, attracts grit and hardens on socks.
  • For wet conditions, coat your feet with Hydropel Sports Ointment, Desetin Maximum Strength, or Sudocrem twice a day during a big race. Primarily designed to prevent diaper rash, this antiseptic healing cream leaves an oily trace on your feet and lasts for ages.
  • Put a patch of lamb’s wool on a bruised, sore, or blistered area, and secure it to the foot with tape.

Try one or two. Give them a chance and maybe try a few more.

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