I have been doing foot care for more then 20 years–and some things don’t change. What disturbs me is that there are still large numbers of athletes who seem to give little thought to their feet. Oftentimes these are newer runners, newer adventure racers, and new hikers. They come into the sport without a base of knowledge and awareness of the best ways to manage their feet. They make mistakes. Many times they don’t have buddies who help them learn about foot care. Maybe you can be someone who helps another learn. I encourage you to try it.
So here are my thoughts on things they need to understand. The athletes with the most foot problems share the following characteristics:
- They shove feet into shoes without straightening their socks.
- They wear the wrong socks and do not look inside their socks for seams that cause toe blisters.
- They have sacrificed fit and buy a shoe because a friend recommended it and not because it was the best shoe for their feet.
- They try to fix blisters with Band-Aids.
- They fail to change their socks often enough when their feet are wet.
- They fail to trim their toenails and wonder why they get black toenails and toe blisters.
- They fail to put in the miles that their feet need to be toughened for the rigors of racing.
- They speed through checkpoints feeding their faces but not tending to their feet.
As Billy Trolan, MD, said in the foreword for the first edition of Fixing Your Feet, “The one factor that continues to amaze me is that individuals and teams will spend vast amounts of money, time, and thought on training, equipment, and travel, but little or no preparation on their feet. Too often the result has been that within a few hours to a few days, all that work has been ruined. Ruined because the primary mode of transportation has broken down with blisters.” That was written in 1997 and is still true today.