So how should we get our feet ready for a race or keep them mobile during a hiking holiday? What should we do before and after these events, to keep Fit Feet?
10 top tips before & after these events, start with the basics.
1. Keep nails short and cut them straight across, the repetitive action of walking, running, and hiking increases the risk of nail bruising particularly if socks and shoes are worn or ill-fitting. Never wear a brand-new walking shoe, or runner on race day, make sure you find it comfortable from the moment you put it on. This is a particular issue if you have bunions or hammer toes or cross toes or a history of foot ulcers.
When fatigue sets in the latter stages of a race or hike our leg muscles tire and get tight, we don’t pivot through the ankle, foot, and big toe joints as smoothly we adapt to this by altering our foot mechanics twisting, flattening the foot, clawing the toes causing shear excessive pressure which can lead to bruising nails, blisters or even sports injuries such as Achilles tendonitis and Plantar fasciitis.
The toenail is not vascular, but the nail bed is and this is what bruises, known as a hematoma. If you have bought new runners for the race or Camino got used to them before, make sure there is enough space at the toebox and width, this seems obvious but poorly fitting runners bring on an array of foot problems, such as blisters, ingrown nails, hematomas/bruising, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains. arch pain, sesamoiditis the list goes on. It can also lead to compensations at the ankle. knee, hip, and low back
2. Good quality mixed fabric socks. Well-fitting socks are a must as they create a barrier, do not recommend hiking or running in sandals particularly if you have diabetes. Seamless socks great for Diabetics, bamboo cotton, 1000-mile socks useful
3. If your feet tend to sweat easily avoid moisturising instead use surgical spirit as an astrigent to manage hyperhidrosis or Anhydrol forte.
4. Examine your feet, where do you get pressure points this is likely to increase on hikes and races, make an appointment with your local Podiatrist to take care of the lumps and bumps before and after the event
5. Make sure shoe liners, insoles, and orthotics are in good condition pre-hike or race day. Orthotics are used to improve the geometry of your feet while dynamic and very helpful to reduce friction and pressure to areas prone to overloads such as the ball of the foot.
6. Calf and foot stretches. If you have a history of weak ankles or ankle sprains pre-event is a good chance to strengthen ligaments in preparation for adverse terrain in hiking and running.
7. How to manage blisters?
Blister stages: If the roof is intact, then protect it with an island dressing such as Mepore. Make sure the dressing padding is the size of the blister, do not de-roof the blister as that will allow grit and sand which can lead to pain and infection.
If after the race or hike you notice your blister is raw, bathe in salt and water and pat dry but still allow a little moisture this is when you use Compeed or other hydrocolloid dressing such as duodenum are the dressing of choice and can be left on for a few days if no signs of infection.
These dressings won’t prevent a blister and can make it worse if put on too soon. Blister prevention products are useful for sights prone to blister. e.g. Engo plasters are applied to the blister site hot spot on the shoe, not the foot this reduces the abrasion of the sock against the skin. Make an appointment with your local Podiatrist to understand the mechanics of why the blister has formed.
Foot orthotics can help prevent areas of reoccurring overload. Your local Podiatrist can guide you regarding dressings and what to include in your first aid blister kit and how to apply them neatly to your feet
8. After a race or hike, get into well-fitting sandals, and check between toes for fungal infections cracks on your heels can turn to fissures. Pomphlyx blisters can occur especially with the heat
9. Post-Camino or mini marathon common overuse injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and arch pain develop because of the change in workload needed by feet to get over the finish line. It is normal to feel stiff after an event for a few days but not on a continuous basis so if you are limping, experience first-step pain, stiff Achilles tendons or your activity is limited and not responding to rest alone. Contact your local Podiatrist.
10. Make an appointment before and after with your local Podiatrist particularly if you have Diabetes, Arthritis, or any condition that affects your feet. At Mary Moore Podiatry we can help you with all of these issues listed above and look forward to helping you get you back on track.