Tips for Outdoor Adventurers
Joe Fleming explains how to take care of your feet.
Do you take a moment to think about your feet's health? The reality is that not a lot of people consider the importance of foot care until pain and other discomforts manifest. Foot health, however, is as important as your general health. If you are the adventurous type of person who enjoys running, hiking, biking, and participating in team sports and other outdoor activities (as an alternative and fun way to achieve physical fitness), the more you should pay attention to taking care of your feet.
Planning a hike? Going camping? Getting ready for a marathon? It is best to always practice awareness and have proper preparations to pre-empt any potential harm to your feet that could spoil your adventure, or worse, cut your journey short.
Before Your Adventure
- Cut your toenails. Long toenails can easily cut the skin in your other toes or cause soreness and pain in your feet. This can affect your movements while running, hiking, or climbing. Be careful, however, not to cut it too short and risk an ingrown toenail. You will not want to experience pain, redness, and infection on your toes in the middle of your outdoor adventure.
- Cover blister-sensitive areas. Before wearing shoes, put paper tape over blister hot spots on your feet to prevent its formation. Blisters are quite common among adventurers and occur because of the constant friction between the skin and the shoes. Paper tape is more effective compared to specialized foot patches and can be found at drugstores alongside medical and surgical tapes.
- Sprinkle cornstarch on your feet. Do this before putting on socks. It will help keep foot odour at bay and absorb the extra moisture that sweaty feet produce. You might also want to use baby powder or baking soda as these work the same way. Avoid using talcum powder, however, as studies have shown it might contain cancer-causing ingredients.
- Pack extra socks. If you are going to be outdoors for days, you will need to change to a clean and dry pair of socks daily, or in case you will have to walk through mud or water. You must also wash and dry your used socks, so you will not run out of a clean extra pair until you get home.
During Your Adventure
- Learn to shorten your stride. Take shorter but quicker steps to avoid any missteps, trips or falls that could cause sprains or broken bones. This technique, that has been proven to work effectively among runners. It also helps reduce the friction and stress on your feet, which are common causes for plantar fasciitis.
- Rest your feet. Consider airing your feet during breaks from your outdoor sports activities by taking off your shoes and socks. If you are out camping, bring flip-flops with you to use around the site at night or when you are resting. Do not use flip-flops if you have to walk around moist areas, though, as you will leave your feet open to bacteria.
- Elevate your feet. Raising your feet against a wall or a solid surface for at least 20 minutes after a strenuous activity will help with muscle recovery. It will also lessen the feeling of heaviness and fatigue that might bear down on your legs and feet the next day, which might affect your balance and bearing.
- Take extra care on rainy days. Your feet will be soaked in both sweat and water if you are out on an adventure during rainy days, as you will likely be wearing shoes more often. This increases chances of blister formation, hence, aside from the paper tape, you might need to keep your feet lubricated with an anti-chafing product like petroleum jelly. Some prefer wearing waterproof shoes as an option.
After Your Adventure
- Indulge in a foot massage. This might be a luxury for some, but you need not get services done at the spa. You can also do a self-massage at home using tools such as a portable transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit to ease muscle fatigue as well as lessen soreness and tenderness. For a better medical guidance on how to use this tool, contact your physician to know the right TENS regimen for you.
- Use ice packs. Address the soreness or pain in your feet with ice packs. Studies have also shown that this helps level off the body's temperature after staying outdoors too long and prevents heat stroke.
- Give your feet time to rest. Schedule your next activity days apart and give your feet, as well as your body, enough time to recover.
How to Deal with Blisters
It is better to know how best to deal with blisters on the feet since you will likely experience this if you are out on outdoor recreational and sports activities often. The first thing to remember is that, no matter how tempting it is, you should never pop a blister for it will result in foot pain. Aside from that, popping might lead to an infection, which is a completely preventable complication.
Clean the area around the blisters with regular soap and water. You might need to keep this padded or covered so that it will not be accidentally popped. If you must, however, pop the blister, then use a sterilized pin and apply an antibiotic ointment frequently.
Never peel off the thin skin layer as this still needs to protect what is underneath from dirt and bacteria. Do not also try to treat a blister with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as these will only slow down the healing process and further irritate the skin.
See a doctor if the blister:
- Remains painful and will not heal after a week
- Remains red and hot
- Develops a pus or blood clot
Lastly, always include a few routines for your feet when you do your daily stretches and exercises to aid in proper blood flow and circulation. Wear shoes that fit right to prevent you from straining your feet. Keep yourself hydrated and nourished when you are doing physical activities to help reduce the swelling of tired muscles and stimulate the healing of micro-trauma.
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:
- FLEMING, J. (2017) Tips for Outdoor Adventurers [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/article293.htm [Accessed
About the Author
Joe Fleming is the President at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to living a healthy lifestyle, he enjoys sharing and expressing his passion through writing. Working to motivate others and defeat e stereotypes, Joe uses his writing to help all people overcome the obstacles of life. Covering topics that range from physical health, wellness, and ageing to social, news, and inspirational pieces ... the goal is to help others "rebel against age".
The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: