Thru-Hikers Feet – an Update

July 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, Health 

This is an update to my blog post of May 28, A Thru-Hikers Story About Feet. The thru-hiker is Tami and she is still hiking the PCT.

When possible I love to share people’s before and after stories with their feet.

Her story was interesting because she was having huge issues with her feet. I shared three pictures that she sent me, which shows the damage to her skin. I’d suggest going back to read the first part of her story and seeing the pictures. It’s important because it put today’s blog post update in a real-life perspective.

Tami wrote:

“I just wanted to drop you a follow up line and let you know that my feet have never been better thanks to you! I just walked 600 miles (trudging over 20 miles per day in the High Sierra on rough rock during dehydrating heat spells carrying an extremely heavy pack complete with bear canister…yes this is a run-on sentence but I can’t help myself) using your preemptive taping methods and tincture of benzoin for toughening and I didn’t get one single blister! This is a huge breakthrough for me and I’m giving acknowledgements to your book and your suggestions everywhere I can- you truly are helping me hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

“Yes, I’m still hiking and super in tune with these feet. Every tiny hot spot or slight discomfort makes me stop and evaluate everything. Thanks for the reminder to not get complacent, it seems like my feet are tough, but it wasn’t too long ago that I was disabled to due horrible blisters.

“I thought my foot issues would be putting the cabosh on my plans, but here I am with happy feet! I met a girl on a bus who was limping around with blister pain and pulled out my foot kit for her to look at. She took notes, jotting everything down including your book title. These are hard lessons learned, but then again, I never seem to do anything the easy way. Thanks so much.”

So what do we learn here? We see that there is hope. It shows that athletes can survive and find help and solutions for their foot issues. Whether you are a thru-hiker, like Tami, an ultramarathoner, marathoner, walker, adventure racer, or anything else, you don’t have to quit because of your feet. Tami was smart and reached out for help – and was willing to put in the effort to learn what to do and what her feet needed.

You can do the same thing.

Feet Tell a Story

August 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, toenails 

I have a large file of feet pictures on my computer. Pictures of toes, heels, balls of the feet, and arches. Pictures of blisters of all shapes and sizes. In addition, I see all kinds of feet when I work events. Over the years, I have worked races ranging from short distances to ultramarathons, to multi-day stage races.

I am probably one of a limited number of people in the world who gets excited at photos of bad feet. I like them because they tell stories.

The first full multi-day event I worked was Racing the Planet’s Atacama Desert six-day stage in the high desert of Chile in 2004. The stressors of being on your feet for long distances day-after-day for six to seven days often bring out the worst in feet.

A lady in that race wanted us to remove her toenails at the end of day two. Another runner had the worst case of trench foot I have ever seen. That was nine years ago and my techniques have changed for the better, but the feet remain the same – bad!

I believe that feet tell a story.

Hurting Toes

Hurting Toes

The photo here is from the Racing the Planet Iceland. I don’t know the owner of the feet. I don’t know the level of training and experience the person had prior to this race. I also don’t know what experience this person had with foot care planning before a race and during the race.

Here are my observations about the story behind these feet.

  • Almost every toe has something going on.
  • The photo was posted online for stage five, meaning the runner had to tolerate these toes for four plus days.
  • These blisters don’t typically happen in one day. My guess is they started on day one, progressed to blisters on day two and then got worse.
  • My bet is the shoes’ toebox was too short in length and/or too low in height.
  • The runner may have worn two pairs of socks, which could have made the fit too tight.
  • The toenails don’t look too long but it’s hard to see if they have any rough edges or are thick, both of which can lead to toe blisters.
  • These toes scream pain – especially if they are encased inside shoes.
  • It’s possible the toes received some degree of care, but it is hard to tell from their condition.
  • Four of the toes have major trauma.
  • We cannot see what is going on under the toes, but from the outside edges of the big toes, you can see blistered skin of the left one and maceration on the right one.
  • The left big toe has blood showing in the blister on the outside edge.

That’s a lot of information pulled from a photo. I wish I knew the toes’ owner. It would be nice to learn more about his/her race. What shoes and socks they wore. How the trauma to the toes progressed day-to-day. What care they received. Whether they finished the race.

My guess is that with proper care, much of this could have been prevented. That care could have included lubricants, moisture control skin protect, tape, modified shoes, and nail care.

What story do your feet tell?

Here’s the link to the Racing the Planet’s Iceland race. Racing the Planet does four desert races every year called The 4 Deserts: the Gobi in China, the Atacama in Chile, the Sahara in Egypt, and Antarctic. Every year they add a new location for that year. Past sites have included Australia, Nepal, Namibia, Vietnam, and 2014 will be in Madagascar. You can check them out at Racing the Planet.

Embarrassed by Your Feet?

April 21, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Sports, Travel 

The press release on foot care got my attention. It is timely because we are coming up on summer, when many people will switch to sandals and flipflops – exposing their feet. I have clipped a portion of the press release because it is important to read.

In the field of foot care, podiatrists and other experts are acutely aware that unattractive feet can cause significant emotional angst, driving those embarrassed about their feet to seek a solution. Dr. Nicolas Romansky, a Pennsylvania podiatrist, says that he commonly sees patients who hide their feet out of embarrassment. He says, "There’s a psychological overlay to foot problems, especially with toenails."

     Dr. Romansky says the distress resulting from unattractive toenails can be so extreme, he’s had married patients who refused to allow their spouse to see their feet for years, sleeping and even having sex with socks on in order to keep their feet hidden.

     Carol J. Buck, CEO of Xenna Corporation, a company that sells foot care products, hears about unattractive feet on a daily basis. Buck says, "Thousands of men and women avoid trips to the beach or pool because they’re embarrassed by the appearance of toenails or rough, scaly heels."

     Though women have long been known as the primary consumers of sandals and open-toed footwear, men are catching up. A recent "Morning Mindbender" quiz question from radio WINCFM in Winchester, Virginia, underscores the point: "8 in 10 women will not get romantic with a man for this reason." Answer? "Ugly feet."

     More than ever, clear, healthy-looking toenails and soft, smooth feet are essential to feeling confident — especially during warm weather.

     Xenna Corporation is the maker of NonyX Nail Gel containing a patented ingredient that softens and breaks down keratin debris, the cause of discoloration under toenails, and CalleX Ointment, which exfoliates and moisturizes thickened and dry, cracked skin on heels, soles and toes.

     There are many similar products on the shelves. The point is to chose one and use it. I have said on many occasions, you don’t have to suffer from blisters. Well, the same holds true here, you don’t have to suffer from embarrassment from scaly skin, cracked heels, and unsightly toenails.

Those Pointy-Toed Shoes

January 6, 2006 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Footcare, Footwear, Health, Travel 

I have to write this. Today I was standing in a lobby of a building waiting for the start of a business meeting. Three women, who I knew, were waiting too. I couldn’t help but look at their feet. What I saw was scary.
Dbd_18     Each had those pointy shoes. You know the ones. They seem to be all the rage these days. The very pointy toes extend at least three inches past the ends of their toes. One of the ladies, who is a tri-athlete, had on shoes that showed the start of her toes (no that’s not her feet in this picture). I’m sorry but it looked painful and certainly not good for her feet.
     The heels were fairly high too. All three women’s toes were being pushed together towards the pointy end of the shoe. Maybe I am missing something, but they remind me of something an elf would wear.
Images_3     Take a close look at the shoes in this picture. The try and guess the price. The answer is at the end of this post. I thought you’d like to read the text about the shoes, “Opalescent Black Evening Pointy Slingback – The perfect choice for a polished up look in dressy occasions, these slingbacks are glamorous with a sensual edge. Made in opalescent treated leather, they shine with a multicolor effect and sparkle with every move. The sole has a rubber toe to avoid slipping. Made in Italy.” Remember, try and guess the price.
     Sure, people have worn cowboy boots for years—and they have kind of a long toe area—but not this bad. Is the pointy end important? Does it make a fashion statement? I guess so. More importantly, does your podiatrist know what you’re wearing on your feet? Can you spell bunions, metatarsal pain, nerve damage, toenail problems. To say nothing of the ankle, knee, hip, and back pain, because, after all, everything is connected. It’s a basic biomechanical fact.
     Actually, a blog titled The Rage Diaries has a whole page devoted to comments on these shoes, even calling them, “pizza-slices with heels.” I love that! What a great analogy.
Largemsg11196627622     Another blog, by SwanShadow, comments, “What’s Up With That? #6: Pointy-toed shoes – Ladies, help a brother understand: I don’t get the pointy-toed shoe thing. Easily the dorkiest women’s footwear innovation since those backless sneakers that were all the rage a few years ago.”
Oh yea, the answer is $228.00

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