Happy Feet

12/06/2009

In the run-up to the Pink Ladies’ Sunset Walk, Nicci Martel discovers how best to prepare your feet for arduous action...

FEET have a pretty rough time of it – in an average lifetime they carry us roughly 115,000 miles, the equivalent of four times around the globe, yet we give them little or no attention.

But proper foot care is essential for healthy, pain-free feet and there’s no more important time to start paying them some attention than before a big race or walk.

On 20 June, upwards of 1,300 women will be taking to their feet for the Pink Ladies’ Sunset Walk and, as podiatrist Fiona McLaren explained, there are a number of things that can be done to make the challenge that bit more comfortable.

In preparation, make sure toenails are cut short and straight across, to avoid the risk of ingrowing nails. Pumice stones are good for getting rid of dry, hard skin and moisturiser will help soften your feet. But hand creams and regular body lotion won’t do the trick – it must be specialised foot cream.

Any cracks, corns and calluses should be attended to before embarking on the walk. According to Fiona, surgical spirit is good for cracked feet. It’s also a good idea to try some foot exercises in the run-up to the big day.

‘Socks are really important. You don’t want 100% cotton, because they hold moisture against the skin and can cause blisters. It’s a good idea to have proper walking socks which draw moisture away,’ explained Fiona, who runs The Foot Clinic at Beau Sejour.

‘Trainers or hiking boots will be the most suitable footwear and it might be a good idea to have an ankle support if there’ll be a lot of cliff paths.’
For a big walk, it’s important to choose footwear that won’t damage your feet. It should have lace-up fastenings to keep feet firmly in place.
This will help prevent blisters and keep toes from slipping forwards, which is especially important when walking downhill.

On completing the walk, whether you opt for the 10.5- or 3.5-mile option, Fiona recommends taking your shoes off and swapping them for flip-flops, to give them a chance to cool off.

If you do develop blisters, it’s a good idea to put some antiseptic cream and a dressing on them.

As tempting as it might be to burst them, it’s not a good idea.
‘You shouldn’t really do it. It might provide instant relief but it could become infected. Keep it covered and leave it to burst on its own.’

If you want more information on how to keep your feet healthy, it’s best to seek advice from a chiropodist/podiatrist.

Wash your feet every day in warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. If your skin is dry, apply moisturising cream.

Trim your toenails regularly and try to cut them straight across and not too short.

Keep your feet warm and exercise to improve circulation.

The following exercises are useful for improving circulation in your feet:

Circle them 10 times in each direction, keeping legs as still as possible.

Straighten toes and wriggle them around.

Raise, point and curl toes for five seconds each and repeat 10 times – this is especially good for toe cramps and hammer toes.

Blister tacks

BLISTERS are painful, fluid-filled lesions, often caused by friction and pressure.
Ill-fitting or stiff shoes, wrinkled socks against the skin, excessive moisture and foot deformities can cause them.

The best way to prevent blisters is by keeping feet dry, wearing socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes and wearing properly-fitting shoes.

GEP Article by Nicci Martel




Back to previous page