Feet at Western States

July 2, 2017 by
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, General, Health 

On June 12 I wrote a blog post Running a Wet 100 Mile Trail Run.

On June 24, I found out many runners ignored my advice, to their detriment. Maybe they didn’t read it, or didn’t see it, or simply read it and ignored it.

A typical year at WS has our foot care team at Michigan Bluff lancing and patching a goodly number of blisters. On toes, heels, ball of the foot, arches, and more. Maybe 50 to 75 blisters. Maybe more. We really don’t count.

This year I lanced and patched one blister. Yes, that’s right – ONE.

But this was not a typical year at WS. Instead of dry conditions, there were miles of snow, and mud, combined with heat so runners soaked themselves in streams and poured water over their hears and down into their shoes.

Maceration WS100I predicted the outcome. Maceration.

Runners came in to see us complaining of blisters and were surprised when we told them there were none. Just macerated feet.

So we powdered their feet, asked them if they had dry socks. And hopefully, dry shoes. We fixed and changed what we could and sent them on their way – wishing them well.

Were this year’s conditions not known in advance? I don’t think so. Runners and crews knew of the record snowpack. They should have expected water and wet conditions. For whatever reason, many ignored the warnings.

It’s unfortunate that so many runners jeopardized their opportunity for a buckle and a successful race on something that was manageable.

I’d love to hear from runners about what they thought. Send me an email.

In the meantime, click the link and read Running a Wet 100 Mile Trail Run.

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2 Comments on Feet at Western States

  1. Steven LaBranche on Mon, 3rd Jul 2017 1:49 am
  2. John – your team did a great job at Michigan Bluff. I was one that took advantage of the treatment (beginnings of maceration and several toe nails). I left there in much better shape, and able to run it in without any foot issues.

    I was warned ahead of time by a friend who ran in snow conditions, and didn’t finish his only WSER – due to severe maceration (skin came off). So I was conscious of it the entire time. I won’t speak for others that had issues, but I made a decision to delay changing my socks and shoes as I was drenched for the first half of the race. As you had noted runners were doing, I stopped at ever stream/river crossing, had ice buried into my sleeves and stuffed around my neck, and got an ice water bath at every aid station. I brought 4 pairs of shoes and had dry socks in every drop bag. Why bother changing, knowing that within minutes I would be soaked again? Is changing into dry socks and shoes still any value in such continuously wet conditions?

  3. John on Fri, 11th Aug 2017 4:54 pm
  4. Over time, dirty socks will get encased with dirt and grit, becoming harder. So, yes, I’d still recommend changing socks. For shoes, if they still work for your feet, clean them out and continue wearing them.

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