Photo of feet with Accuro 50 logo, foot care with molly blog post

#Accuro50 Guest Post: Foot Care with Molly

Partaking in the Accuro 50 Challenge Walk? Here’s how to care for your feet on long walks.
By Molly Chilvers BSc(Hons) Podiatry – Podiatrist – Foot Care with Molly

Firstly, start by kindly asking your feet to bear with you on this quest – OK, aside from the poor joke, walking is a brilliant form of exercise and it’s great for you mind and body too. However, there’s nothing great about sore feet when hoping to set off on a long journey. It’s important to care for your feet properly before, during and after long periods of walking. Care for them, and they’ll care for you!

Prevention is better than cure
Blisters can be attributed to a variety of factors, but most commonly occur from incorrect fitting shoes or from wearing the wrong type of sock. If you know there are areas on your feet susceptible to blistering, it’s best to apply a blister plaster to these areas before heading off. Blister plasters such as Compeed are great, of which large supermarkets often have their own brand available too. Gehowl’s range offers a cream suitable for ‘toughening’ the skin to prevent blisters.
It’s good to trim your nails in preparation for a long walk. Long nails can be irritated by footwear and repetitive pressure, which can cause much discomfort and damage the nail. When cutting the nails, cut straight across and gently file the edges. Be mindful not to cut the nails too short, or to cut down the sides of the nail, otherwise an ingrown toenail will occur.
Ankle supports are also useful and should be considered if there is a history of ankle injury, sprain or tendency to ‘roll over’ when walking. Ankle supports can be bought from local pharmacies.

Caring for the skin
Feet should be always kept dry throughout your walk – nobody wants to develop Trench Foot on their travels unnecessarily. Wet, or macerated skin is more likely to develop blisters than dry skin. If the feet do become wet, be sure to remove the shoes and socks, dry thoroughly and put a fresh pair of socks on.
Purchase shoes which are waterproof, they’ll be great for the UK weather!

Treating ‘Hot Spots’ & Blisters
Pre-blister state, also known as ‘hot spot’, is a warning sign of a blister coming your way! The signs are subtle, and can include tenderness, localised warmth, which can appear red when inspecting the area. It’s important to
catch these signs as early as possible to prevent the blister developing, if you notice a stinging sensation, it’s too late.
The first moment you feel the hot spot, its time to stop. Take off your socks and shoes to assess your feet for any hot spots. Shake any grit out from your socks and turn the socks inside out and shake well. At this stage, it’s important to, depending on the area the hot spot is present, apply one of the following: blister lubricant (e.g. Vaseline) or a blister plaster (e.g. Compeed). You may also want to use a form of donut offloading pad, which are often found at pharmacies, or if the hot spot is located on a toe, use a gel toe sleeve.
Here is a short video you can watch for some helpful information:
If you’ve taken off your shoe and been greeted by a blister, it’s best to avoiding popping them unless they are causing pain or making it difficult to walk, as popping a blister creates a portal of entry for infection.
Here’s safe steps to popping a blister:
1. Wash or antibac-gel your hands
2. Clean the area around the blister with an antibac-wipe
3. Sterilise a needle with rubbing alcohol
4. Carefully pierce the side of the blister using the needle
5. Gently drain the fluid from the blister using the small hole created
6. Do not remove the skin flap created by the blister – this will begin to form a scab and protect the area
7. Clean the area again with an antibac-wipe
8. Apply a lubricant such as Vaseline
9. Dress with a sterile or blister plaster
Signs of infection can include, redness, increase pain, swelling and pus. You should monitor your feet for these symptoms after popping a blister. If you do experience any of these symptoms, contact your local Podiatrist swiftly for treatment, and possibly a short course of antibiotics.
Once finished attending to hot spots, or blisters. Pop your socks and shoes back on and continue the journey!

Socks and Shoes
Breathable, comfortable footwear will be the foundation to the walk’s success. Feet come in difference shapes and sizes, and no one shoe will be perfect for every foot. Good quality, ankle-high walking boots are essential. Ankle-high walking boots provide stability at the ankle and their thicker sole aid in shock absorption. It’s desirable to buy a new pair, which should be worn in prior to the walk so that the shoes are comfortably moulded to the feet. Consider purchasing waterproof protection for the footwear if they are not designed as waterproof.
Always try walking boots on with your walking socks – these socks can be thicker than ordinary socks and can affect sizing. Again, if wearing orthotics or insoles in the shoes, take these with you to try in the shoe before purchasing. I’d recommend to shoe shop in the afternoons instead of mornings – feet swell throughout the day.
Finally, tie the laces properly – don’t slip your foot into the shoe with a previously tied lace. Ensuring the feet are ‘strapped in’, ready for their walk, will prevent friction within the shoe and avoid blister, corn or callus development.
Recommended socks would be ones made from bamboo. Other brands, specifically designed for walking include Bridgedale and Isocool.

Post-walk care
Nothing is going to feel better at the end of the day, than whipping off those socks and shoes and letting the feet get some air. Just beforehand, don’t forget to stretch out after the walk. Keep the shoes somewhere where they can air out overnight.
It’s a good idea to soak your feet in some warm (you may also prefer cool water if the feet feel hot) water for up to 10 minutes. Dry thoroughly and apply a soothing foot cream. Elevate the legs for the evening to reduce any swelling and to aid circulation. If able and desired, take some anti-inflammatory medications, such Ibuprofen. Alternative, you can massage into the tender areas of the feet some anti-inflammatory gel, such as Voltarol.
What would I be taking on a long walk for my feet?
• Spare pair of bamboo or anti-blister (hiking) socks
• Spare pair of shoes
• Blister plasters
• Antibac-gel and wipes
• Sterile plasters
After your completing the walk, you may want to consider seeing a Podiatrist for a foot check if experiencing any pain/swelling in the feet, or trauma to the nails/skin – or just for some well-earned TLC.

Good luck!


Guest post by Foot Care with Molly: