With the 100 km Oxfam Trailwalker approaching next month it is important that those training for the walk know how to prepare and strengthen their feet. Blisters are the number one reason that people don’t finish the walk.
Handy hints to ensure that your feet will go the distance:
- Ensure you have a comfortable pair of good walking shoes. Hiking boots, trainers or trail runners are a good choice. It is also a good idea to bring a spare pair of shoes in case one gets wet or causes pressure/irritation. Find out what works for you by experimenting during training. Don’t wear new shoes during the event!
- Wear good quality synthetic/cotton or wool blend socks (avoid wearing pure cotton or pure wool). It is recommended that you change your socks regularly throughout the event.
- Try to keep your feet dry. This will reduce the likelihood of friction blisters. Spray-on antiperspirants, applied to the feet before and during the event are effective in achieving this. Avoid petroleum-based products such as vaseline or pawpaw ointment which increase skin friction on long walks. Simple yet effective measures include changing out of wet shoes and socks.
- Tape your feet – Get to know where your feet are prone to blisters. Cover these areas with either hypoallergenic tape (such as Fixomull) or if really problematic, a more specialised hydrocolloid type of dressing (such as Duoderm, Cutinova Hydro, and Allevyn Thin) and then use Fixomull to secure.
- Recognise ‘hot-spots’. The key to blister prevention is to recognise ‘hot spots’ which are slightly sore or warm patches of skin that can be caused by rubbing or pressure. Anyone who has experienced bad blisters will need no convincing that prevention is better than cure, so if you notice a ‘hot spot’ stop and fix it immediately.
- Cut your toenails so they are short and rounded to help prevent pressure and bruising. A small amount of callus is healthy, however you should gently file back excessive callus in the weeks prior to the event, or have it removed by a podiatrist. Moisturiser can be used daily to improve the elasticity of skin and minimise hardening.
We recommend thorough examinations and treatments with one of our Melbourne podiatrists in the months leading up to and just before the event. Remember prevention is better than cure!
This year keep an eye out for our Melbourne podiatrists Sam Brown and Rhea Manussen. Sam is competing in the Oxfam 100km Trailwalker this year with his team The Feetles. Rhea will be a volunteer podiatrist at the starting point of the walk. So for those who need their feet taped, come and say Hi!
For more information please feel free to check out the Melbourne Oxfam Trailwalker website.