Saturday, 17 March 2007

Some Meter on Feet

American Bushman asked what my thoughts were on foot care. Although not an expert, here's what works for me:

Naked feet: keep toenails clipped and hard skin smoothed. I use a rubbing device from the supermarket as they didn't have any pumice stones. I get dry, hard skin on my right outer heal, and so would tend to get blisters there.

Socks: chose carefully. I use a mix of different brands. If using "Sealskinz" waterproof socks, I'd recommend liner socks. Choose your socks with the same care that you chose your boots or shoes.

Footwear: the Inov-8 Terrocs have never given me blisters, however those were not the pair that I wore on the WHW (where I did end up with blisters). I've reverted to boots, and have had no problems with the Scarpa ZG65's. I think the most important advice is to get a proper boot fitting. Even after you have researched the products available, and what you want from the footwear (rather than what the seller thinks you want).

Care and attention: dry your feet regularly. If you feel a blister start to develop, stop and treat it. I'm too much of a wimp to use the hot pin method, and go for the clean scissors and snip. Germolene is my antiseptic cream of choice, but I'm not a trained medic, so won't give out advice here (not with the current 'blame culture'). Keep your first aid kit sorted, replacing used supplies. I use a waterproof first aid bag, mine came from - I know that any old drysack would have done, but I always tell trail-mates where they will find my first aid kit in my pack. Just in case.

Pre-treatment: I put vaseline on my feet if I'm going out for a trek, then pull on my socks. Normally because my 'official' creams are stowed in my back the night before. I have a drybag with my 'remedies' - foot creams, lip balm, sunlotion, jungle juice. The Gehwol foot creams from are the pre-treatment and the post-treatment "refreshing balm" - in all honesty, I use the latter more often (unless I'm on a multiday hike, the vaseline lasts long enough so I don't use the footcream). As I suffer from migraines, I found that the refreshing menthol balm works well on my forehead and helps ease away pains, in the same way as products like 4head. Again, I'm no expert, but it works for me when the weather makes me feel tingly.

Proper Planning Prevents P...poor Performance.

Any athletes foot will get treated before I go out. I did once carry some talc for it, but these days I just leave it in my car kit (when I remember).

Another thing that might help is hydration. I use a Camelbak system and make sure I drink regularly. I'm not sure if that makes a difference.

I also use the 'smart foot' moulded insoles in my boots (but not my Terrocs)