I get emails from runners asking for foot care advice. I’m going to run some of these occasionally to share the problem and what I suggest as a solution—because many times, these are common problems. If pictures are included, I’ll add them here too. You’ll see my thought process as I try to analyze what is happening and why. I welcome feedback from others. I will keep the names out of the emails for privacy’s sake.
I am hoping you can give me some advice. I am running AC 100 in three weeks, and the last couple of long training runs I have done on the course, I have had hotspots on the bottom of my foot, near the front of my foot, just before my toes. The hot spot lingers several days after my runs as well, but I don’t have any blisters. I am getting a little nervous because it is very uncomfortable after only 20 – 25 miles. I can’t imagine going 100 miles with that pain.
I have an outdated version of your book, so I just purchased the new one on amazon, but I was wondering if you had any advice for both now (in preparation for the race) and during the race.
So this is a new problem? Just one foot? Same shoes and socks as before? Any healing skin or blisters on the foot? How much walking are you doing, versus running? Old or fairly new shoes? Are you applying any lubricant to the balls of your feet, and if so, what kind?
There are several things you can do immediately. Order a pack of Engo Blister Prevention Patches from either through their website or through Amazon. Get several of the large rectangle patches. They are about 3” x 4” and they go on your insoles right under the ball of your foot. These are very thin, slick, and excellent at reducing friction. Put them on the insoles when they are dry, under the ball of the foot. Rub them on well. You may have problems with your metatarsal heads, which are in the ball of the foot. Make sure your shoes are wide enough. Any numbness or tingling in your toes? You could pre-tape the ball(s) of your foot to help protect the skin.
During the race, keep your feet as dry as possible. If it’s hot and you want to pour water over your head, lean forward so the water doesn’t go down into your shoes. If you don’t, wear gaiters to keep junk out of your shoes. Because many of today’s shoes have mesh uppers, be alert for dust, dirt, and grit in your socks and shoes. These can cause irritation and hot spots. Have extra socks in your drop bags and change them when you can.
Feedback to my suggestions
So, I did change my shoes in the last month. I changed to the Hoka Speedgoat3. I love them because of the cushioning and the traction on the bottom for technical trails especially. They do not appear to be too narrow, although I do need a wider toe box (typically wore Saucony’s). And the hotspot is only on the ball of my left foot. No problem with my right foot. I also use RunGoo on my feet before I put my socks on. I will order the Engo blister patches, but really only have this week to try them out. Should I use the lubricant on my feet in addition to the patches in my shoes? I really appreciate your help! I am desperate and will try anything to prevent a painful race!
The Engo Blister Prevention Patches you recommended worked great! I didn’t have the hot spots on the bottom of my feet, but I did still get some blisters. To be expected in AC100 with the heat and the terrain. The good news is I finished!
One thing that is always helpful in giving people ideas or treatment options is to know if they changed anything leading up to the problem. Often times, it’s a matter of trying several things and finding what works. I don’t claim to have all the answers, which is why I value the suggestions from others. Over the years I have learned that there is often more than one good answer. If you have an idea, please share it with us.