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Providing Foot Care for Athletes – Should events be caring for your feet?

Interesting topic which very often crops up in Adventure Racing simply due to the amount of time that you are spending on your feet, very often in wet shoes as a result of tromping through bogs or a solid soaking from kayaking.

The article in the link is well worth reading but the key point raised, I think, is the lack of adequate preparation by athletes when they are aware of the availability of medical help at events.

Many runners have become dependent and expectant that events will have medical personnel providing even the most basic foot care.

Source: Providing Foot Care for Athletes | Fixing Your Feet Blog

I’ve written before about my own foot care issues where it went¬†wrong and then steps taken and changes made that have meant I ***touch wood*** have had no problems since.

I’ve had no issues since I discovered the system that works for me and that is Goretex shoes (Saucony Xodux GTX – a whole size larger than normal), waterproof socks (DexShell Ultralite from Mapdec) and a thin lining sock within this concoction. Foot care in transition involves, removing shoes, socks and allowing feet to breathe whilst taking care of TA business and then before heading off, wiping (babywipes), drying, powdering and reassembly of fresh liner sock, fresh DexShell and back into the shoes that have been checked for all debris and grit.

However, recent experience during the 5 day ITERA expedition race has me a little more introspective on this subject than normal.

The race started with a run – grand, no issues; a long paddle – kayak booties & shoes in dry bag, no issues and then we were all pulled out for a road trek to transition.

This trek – we changed back into our shoes and set off with OK feet but during the course of the road, beach, sand, dunes, trek our shoes (& feet) were subjected to a fair bit of abuse as our shoes filled with sand from crossing beach streams. (With Goretex shoes the sand DIDN’T get into the shoe it filled between the outer lining and Goretex layers putting pressure on toes).

Key thing here which we missed in briefing was we didn’t have access to Team Kit in the next TA before the planned 25k (short course) trek so we had 20k which beat up our feet somewhat followed by 32k without having treated our feet though we did have a change of socks.

The BIG lesson learned was always carry footcare kit in one of the packs.

Furthermore and back to the original point, if you are an expedition racer or ultra runner or conduct yourself over terrain, distance or conditions where you may feasibly get into trouble through foot damage – then you really should be taking care of it yourself. Under no circumstances should an event organiser or event medic be taking care of your feet for you.

If you are relying on ‘outside’ assistance to get you through an event then IMO you haven’t done the homework and prepared yourself properly for participation.

What do you think? How do you take care of your feet and what works for you?

– #TriHarder Sean