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Discussion Forum - Events - How I aim to avoid blisters on a 100


Author: Mike Childs
Posted: Thu 2nd Jun 2011, 21:38
Joined: 1990
Local Group: Dorset
Hi Elton,

What an extraordinary 100 ! Undulating, was that the word Janet used ? I am glad it wasn't hilly..... Do you remember the "go through eleven fields" just before Knighton? How far was that? I thought we would never get there..

I am very pleased to see that you finished (well done) - and without serious problems from your feet. I thought the Housman was quite tough enough as a walk, without having to endure the misery of blisters as well. I also managed to get through, without any foot problems. I changed my socks nine times.. fresh ones on each time. I may have some slight "post event" bruising on the ball of my left foot, but, that isn't too bad, considering what we put ourselves through.
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Thu 2nd Jun 2011, 19:50
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Author: Ian Koszalinski
Posted: Mon 30th May 2011, 18:43
Joined: 2004
Local Group: High Peak
use them as dusters, put them on like gloves and dust away
Author: Fiona Cameron
Posted: Mon 30th May 2011, 10:17
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Surrey
Many thanks for the suggestion about using merino socks - I got stopped at 66ml, but at that point had no foot problems at all, having decided to wear new Icebreaker merino trekking socks in my trainers. I'd bought them for a trekking holiday earlier this year and not used them, so I had 2 pairs of nice soft woolly socks to use; changed into new socks at the breakfast stop but wasn't a necessity. I think I've just found a new sock strategy for the future.

Now, can I bring myself to actually throw out all the old, worn out socks; or do I keep them 'just in case'?
Author: Eileen Greenwood
Posted: Wed 18th May 2011, 20:39
Joined: 2002
Local Group: Yorkshire Coast
Thanks Mike. I will look for it when next in town. Shop for plasters/tape etc.

Also, I agree wool socks great, I agree with Tony- Smartwool (merino wool)in particular- have been wearing them a while- I also use Icebreaker merino wool. But wool seems to win with blister problem;but hard tracks over 100 miles is tough on those feet!

Using the talc suggestion is great also-if I can remember to pack some! The problem is in using it- you get to the check points and just tend to rush on. And dare not remove the footwear in case your feet disintegrate.And cannot take the smell of those Inov8s when remove them!! And dare not offend others within smelling distance! Mind you- the talc might help with that..
Posted: Tue 17th May 2011, 23:25
Joined: 1972
After our Marshals' walk for the Housman 100 a lot of walkers complained of blisters or sore feet. The reason was the concrete hard surfaces caused by an April Long lack of rain. Some has fallen recently but not enough to soften the ground and the outlook is for the drought to continue and temperatures to rise so the problem will not go away.

The issue is often wet socks due to rain, or puddles or stream crossings which will not apply in Shropshire if the fine weather continues. But another cause is sweat and I remember reading somewhere that in the course of a day? each foot produces about 1 pint.

I managed to avoid footsoreness on the Marshals by wearing thick wool socks in part to provide cushioning for the constant impacts of walking but to carry 2 pairs and change them over at each Checkpoint with the just worn socks hung from my rucksack to dry in the wind and sun. I also carried talcum powder to dry the pads of my feet at the sock change and so I left each checkpoint with comfortable feet and a mighty morale boost.
Author: Mike Childs
Posted: Tue 17th May 2011, 20:36
Joined: 1990
Local Group: Dorset
Eileen

Superdrug is usually the cheapest for Palmer's cocoa butter. Shea butter is similar but a little bit more upmarket. I wonder if Steve Clarke from BBN could be persuaded to take photos of the worst feet at the finish - we could look forward to a special edition Housman " Blister Gallery" on the website afterwards. Hopefully, it won't include any of ours....
Author: Eileen Greenwood
Posted: Tue 17th May 2011, 17:58
Joined: 2002
Local Group: Yorkshire Coast
The Ridgeway is a hard chalky long distance path- I know, I've done it! But this years 100 is mostly on good grassy paths- I know, I've walk the route! So the blister problem should be minimal.
I don't know about blisters- most years blister free and then they come back for no reason. I shall try the cocoa butter thingy, if i can find a good cheap supply: but I like Nivea Cream original- cheap and thick and creamy.

Well,l I use it on my face and that remains blister free. Ermm, not quite wrinkle free though!
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Tue 17th May 2011, 7:36
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Encouraging comments Tony, I don't like the thought of pinning, but then again I'm not planning to do too much running!
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 22:42
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
John,
Could be osteo-arthritis? It hit me about fifteen years ago after years of too much running on hard surfaces. The bad news is that you have to have the joint pinned which stops the running. Good news is that you can still walk - I have finished seven Hundreds since then. A chiropodist should be able to tell you what the problem is.
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 18:50
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
No not gout John, I had that 20 years ago but after treatment it eventually went away. This pain is not as debilitating as gout, it's more of an irritation, I remember having gout in Malaysia and barely being able to walk to the plane for departure; abstinence helps of course, but then other side effects (withdrawal, paranoia, angst, smug sobriety). Bunions, Deidre, I don't think so, can't see the symptoms
Author: Deirdre Flegg
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 17:48
Joined: 1993
Local Group: Dorset
John-incipient bunions? Is the next toe slightly raised at second joint? [I am not a chiropodist, but I have a bunion!]
Author: John Phillips
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 16:25
Joined: 2007
Local Group: South Pennine
That sore big toe is probably gout, John. Lay off the sauce after your walk & see if matters improve
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 14:47
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Wow, it's like - to paraphrase, and with dim memory - the 100 Economists and 100 opinions. No seriously, I have Smartwool socks in a drawer somewhere and will dig them out for another go. Will ditch the two pair approach and, sudocrem, yes, I use that for chafing around my waistband. Cocoa butter on feet first then try the sudocrem, vaseline a no-no.

Whilst on the subject of feet - and what's more important? does anyone get sore/aching big toe joints, pain that can persist days after walking. Can chiropodists help
Author: Mike Childs
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 9:45
Joined: 1990
Local Group: Dorset
I have concluded that using pure synthetic fibre socks, whether acrylic, coolmax or whatever, is OK for some shorter walks. But synthetic fibres, being basically plastic, quickly lose their resilience and comfort factor when wet or under extremely sweaty conditions - and then they start to grate the skin. Same for cotton.

Quality wool socks are much better, particularly in wet (and hot) conditions. Wool mixtures with synthetics are fine and obviously much more durable than 100% wool. Look on the label (fine print) for socks containing about 50% wool, and some synthetics such as elastane to help to keep the shape. If the label is silent and no information provided I avoid like the plague. Baggy and wrinkly socks are really bad news.

As a matter of personal choice, I find that one pair of medium to heavy weight loop knit wool mixture socks is fine in trainers, and I cannot see any real advantage in wearing two pairs as an outer / inner layers.

The skin of your feet needs to be kept soft, strong and supple, not hard, thick and crackly. Cocoa butter or similar moisturising creams (but not vaseline) will help a lot to achieve this. In very wet conditions, cocoa butter seems to greatly reduce the chance of the dreaded "immersion foot"

That is my view, no doubt there are others who have their own advice.
Author: Tony Willey
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 9:31
Joined: 1989
Local Group: Lakeland
My recipe is a single pair of wool socks and Sudocreme nappy rash cream which also works as an all purpose anti-chafe cream. Smartwool socks work for me, although they are expensive - I usually stock up with REI own brand when I visit family in the USA.
Author: Dr. John Batham
Posted: Mon 16th May 2011, 8:06
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Yorkshire
Author: Armorel Young
Posted: Sun 15th May 2011, 21:47
Joined: 1999
Local Group: Sherwood
Thanks, Deidre - having been thoroughly uncomfortable on the Ridgeway40 last weekend with large-scale blisters that kicked in at 15 miles I shall be trying out your ideas - particularly the cocoa butter - with interest. And although I always carry spare socks, I can see that I need to resolve to stop and actually put them on - it's so tempting just to keep going for mile after mile.
Author: Deirdre Flegg
Posted: Sat 14th May 2011, 10:16
Joined: 1993
Local Group: Dorset
1. Wear comfy off road trainers, the sort where my feet say 'ah thanks' when I put them on. Put a second pair in breakfast bag (don't always change if all going well).
2. Wear comfy, well cushioned socks. I avoid coolmax at all costs as it makes my soles sore. Bridgedales with high percentage wool are the best.
3. Wash socks by hand in good soap flakes (even if already clean) and line dry.
4. Rub cocoa butter into feet a few times in the week ahead, and then plenty on the day (keeps feet soft and helps if conditions very wet). Decant a few blobs into a pot and re-apply en route. Put a tube in breakfast bag. Budget buy: Palmer's. Body Shop also good.
5. Change socks every 15 miles or as checkpoints allow. More often in wet conditions. Tradeoff between bulk/weight in pack and feet which carry me along. Record was 15 pairs on Yorkshire Dales 1996.
6. Keep fingers crossed.

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