Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footwear, Health, Sports, toenails
I believe strongly in prevention as a proactive measure in foot care.
Tim Noakes’ sixth law of running injuries must be heeded—any running injury can be cured only after the cause is found and eliminated. All of us who run, hike, or adventure race at some point have problems with our feet or sustain foot injuries. The prevention chapters are numerous and lengthy because many factors contribute to foot problems and injuries, and for every factor, there is a preventive measure that can reduce or eliminate it. Prevention is the key to saving your feet. Dave Scott, a good friend and ultrarunner, put the foot problem in proper perspective: “When you don’t take care of your feet during a long run or race, each step becomes a reminder of your ignorance.”
It’s very easy to relinquish our responsibility for preparedness and let someone else dictate what we should do. We tend to listen to those whom we look up to and to those who are more experienced. In many ways this is OK, and it is often the way it should be. However, only you can determine what works for your feet.
Knowing your prevention options is important. That’s being proactive. I get emails every week from athletes who are looking for answers for their feet issues.
Some have my book but others don’t. Some have the book and have gone through the chapters to find possible treatment options. Others have the book and haven’t read it – and want me to answer their questions.
I try. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. While I answer from my experience and knowledge, I don’t have your feet. And that’s important.
Your feet have your abnormalities (hammer toes, bunions, thick toenails, skin that calluses, a tendency to athlete’s foot, a tendency to blisters, etc.), your ankles, your shoes and socks, your fit (good or bad), your training base, your stride and gait, and more.
You are the best person to find what works for your feet. Others may give suggestions. Fixing Your Feet can give suggestions and I may offer a few via email or in this blog, but you need to try them on your feet to find the one that works best.
You are the key to prevention.
Please, don’t show up at a race with a bad case of athlete’s foot, holes in your socks, shoes that have outlived their support, insoles that are flat as paper, toenails that are long and untrimmed, shoes that don’t fit, huge thick calluses, blisters that are unhealed, thick nails from untreated toenail fungus.
Yes, I have seen all of these.
Again, you are the key to prevention.
Well, not nasty in that sense. Nasty in how they look, smell, or feel. I could have put an image on this page showing nasty feet. Believe me, Google has lots that would turn your stomach. I choose not to make you gag. Instead I have some solid advice.
Some athletes struggle with nasty feet. Years of running and pounding that pavement or dirt with these valuable appendages, quick showers, no showers, sticky socks, calluses, ingrown toenails, long untrimmed toenails, Athlete’s foot, new blisters, old blisters that haven’t healed, scars from deep old blisters, and more.
On top of that, add the possibility of hammer toes, Morton’s foot, flat feet, bunions, and scars from scrapes and puncture wounds and you have quite a challenge.
Here are a few tips on avoiding nasty feet.
Get a foot brush to use in the bath or shower. These are good to rid your skin of dirt and dead skin, especially around your toes and heels.
Get a high-quality toenail clipper. Preferably a flat edged one. Trim your nails as short as possible without exposing the skin at the corner of the nail. Trim straight across. Try and do this once a week.
Get a good nail file. These come in cheap emery board styles or more substantial long lasting files. Use one after trimming your nails to rounds the edges and smooth the corners so they don’t catch on your socks. The clippers show here are high quality. They can be purchased through FootSmart.com for about $12.00. If your nails are thick, you need more than the usual drug store clippers. I recommend these or a similar one.
Get a callus file, PedEgg, or a similar device to keep your calluses under control. Use it after showering when your skin is soft. Avoid going too deep. If you have thick calluses, it will take a while to get them under control, and
Get a high-quality foot cream to apply after you have done all the above.
If you have Athlete’s foot or toenail fungus, treat it. It’s that simple. Don’t treat it and you’ll be heading for more problems down the trail.
By sticking to an easy-to-follow regiment of foot care, your feet can avoid the nasty look.
I recently learned of a new term for foot procedures – face lifts for feet. This was used an Associated Press article about the trend in cosmetic foot procedures. Some of these are called toe tucks, toe slim, toe shortening, along with common procedures like bunnionectomy and hammer toe surgery. Many of the patients are women who want their feet to look prettier. Others are those who are in pain from their feet.
One podiatrist says these procedures make up the bulk of his practice. A
I have heard from many athletes who have foot problems and could benefit from surgery. Bunions, hammer toes, Morton’s toe, metatarsal pain, ingrown toenails, and toenail removal, are a few examples. Rather then “put up with” the problem, there comes a time when surgery may be the right choice. For example, the photo shows a person with Morton’s Toe. The toe is quite a bit longer than the big toe and could present many problems to an athlete. This person might happily have surgery rather than deal with the issues of such a long toe.
Before choosing foot surgery, make sure to get at least two opinions, and three may be better. Investigate your condition on the Internet, at trusted websites. Become educated so when you contact a podiatrist or other specialist, you know what questions to ask.