What You Should Know About Foot Care In The Field

What You Should Know About Foot Care In The FieldI love to explore the great outdoors and I try to spend more time in nature. I’ve seen many hikers with feet that have been abused. I can tell you from experience that few people pay attention to their feet when they are uncomfortable. Foot care should become a priority if you plan on bugging out on foot or if you enjoy long hiking trips.

We prepare our bug out bags as well as we can and we buy clothes and shoes to protect us from the elements. However, people tend to forget about their feet and how important foot care is. If you bought an expensive pair of hiking boots, that doesn’t mean your feet will be comfortable at all times. Even when they are causing them pain, they push forward thinking they can deal later on with this “minor” problem.

Most people rarely walk any distances and they use a motorized transport to reach their destination. You can’t test your footwear if you never walk and you will never find out if it’s actually functional. Many conditions affect your feet in a bugging out scenario. As a quick example, warm, moist and dark environments will cause fungal infections. If you don’t treat them in time, these will develop into open sores which can lead to complications.

My wife is not used to long walks and when we go hiking, she keeps a tube of Terbinafine Hydrochloride 1%  cream in her bag. She’s using it to treat blisters or when her toes start to itch. After a few years of hiking, she understood that foot care is to be taken seriously when you’re in the field.

Common Feet problems and foot care tactics

Hard skin

This one is a common problem for most people and they have hard skin around the borders of their heels. Hard skin can develop across the balls of the feet and on the edge of the big toes. The hard skin will often crack and if you’re not treating it, you will develop fissures in the lower tissue. This makes walking very painful, if not impossible for certain people. If the deep cracks become infected, you will have a hard time healing them without proper medical aid.

Foot care recommendations

If your feet are developing hard skin, I recommend using a moisturizing foot cream containing urea. If a crack occurs in the field, you should use a blister plaster. This action will help keep bacteria out and will often stop the crack from getting deeper.

Corns

Corns are hard, thickened areas of skin that form as a consequence of rubbing, friction or pressure on the skin. Although these are nothing more than an irritant for certain hikers, if left untreated, they can develop into wounds that can become infected.

Foot care recommendations

First of all, you should make sure that your footwear fits since it will help reduce the formation of corns. However, if any appear, you should visit your podiatrist to have them removed. If you’re in the field, you can use corn plaster removers. These will work until you’re able to reach your doctor.

Blisters

This is a problem I often have to deal with and these fluid-filled lesions are causing me pain I have to endure. They are produced by friction and pressure. Blisters can be caused by wearing wrong shoes or boots and new footwear is a primary cause of developing blisters. They can also be caused by wrinkled socks, a deformity within the foot or by moisture. If you have sweaty feet, you will surely develop blisters during long walks.

Related reading: Step By Step Guide To Make A First Aid Kit

Foot care recommendations

While wearing adequate footwear and socks can prevent the formation of blisters, that’s only half the battle. When you get blisters in the field, you will be tempted to burst them. Don’t do that since most blisters will heal naturally. They will dry once the body absorbs the liquid and the dry skin will eventually peel off. If you burst the blisters, you will leave room for infection to set in. It’s better if you cover the blisters with an adhesive plaster. However, if they burst, you shouldn’t peel the skin away, and you should cover the area using a padded dressing.

Chilblains

During cold weather, the tiny blood vessels in the toes constrict and the foot area becomes less irrigated. That’s when chilblains appear and this is common for people with circulatory problems. They occur when rapid changes in temperature occur. For example when you put your cold feet near the fire.

Foot care recommendations

Chilblains usually go away on their own. If you are susceptible to chilblains, be sensible in cold weather by wearing gloves and warm clothing worn in layers. If you are outside in the cold, keep active to improve your circulation and do not wear tight shoes because this can restrict circulation. In the field, you should keep the affected areas warm, but not too hot. My wife uses Lanolin cream at night when sleeping in a cold environment. It also helps when she wears pairs of quality socks and puts a hand warmer between the socks.

Frostbite

Wet socks and shoes worn in very cold environments can cause frostbites which can result in major tissue destruction. They will also appear when the skin and other tissue is exposed to very cold conditions, usually below 0.55C or 31F. Frostbite usually affects areas like the hands, feet, ears, nose and lips, but can affect any part of the body. Symptoms of frostbite often start with pain from the cold, pins and needles and numbness.

Foot care recommendations

When you’re in the field, if you notice the symptoms of frostbite, you should get to a warm environment as soon as possible. Once you get to such shelter, you should commence warming up the affected area carefully. You should keep the affected area elevated to reduce swelling. Remove all constrictive clothes because they may block the blood flow. Drink, warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids. You should not warm the area if it is exposed to cold again, this may cause further tissue damage. Do not rub the area sin you will damage the tissue. Depending on the gravity of the frostbite, you should seek medical attention.

Other recommendations regarding foot care

There are millions of people who have diabetes in the US. This condition can result in changes in the feet with the most common being a loss of sensation. This sensation can affect how a person walks and the loss of balance can result in damage to the feet or even greater injuries. If you have diabetes, foot care should become a priority for you. Wearing properly fitting shoes and adopting good foot care practices is recommended. You should keep your feet comfortable and active if you plan to take long walks.

Final word

Good foot care practices will help to keep you walking for miles without having to deal with the above common problems. This is an important topic if you plan to bug out by foot or if you love hiking. You should pay more attention to your feet since they will help you walk any distance you plan. I spend a lot of time encouraging friends and family to wear shoes appropriate for daily living and camping activities. Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.

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1 thought on “What You Should Know About Foot Care In The Field

  1. Yes, I do agree with you. I also bring baby powder along to ensure my foot being dried. Moreover, small dried tea bags are packaging, I always put it in my shoes during the nights or exposure under the sunlight while I was eating breakfast. Then, so comfortable with the results.

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