It’s that time of year again!  On the 27 March, a dedicated bunch will be up early, runners on and setting off on the 100km track for the Oxfam Trailwalker.  Events are held each year in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and this year more than 600 teams will be taking part in the event.

Every year we have a dedicated group of CSSM patients taking up the challenge and their preparation has well and truly begun.

Most teams will take around 30 hours to complete the bush course which this year takes them from Endeavour Hills to Heidelberg.

Blisters are among one of the biggest reasons participants don’t complete the 100km event.  As with most things, prevention is better than cure when it comes to blisters and there’s a few strategies walkers can put in place to avoid blisters.  Socks should be cotton or another natural fibre such as bamboo.  Polyester and other synthetic fibres don’t ‘breathe’ and cause the feet to sweat excessively.  Changing into fresh socks at check points is a good idea and perhaps bringing a spare pair of shoes just in case.

Shoes should be the correct length and width which seems obvious but many people actually wear the incorrect size.  Shoes should be in a good state of repair but not necessarily brand new.  New shoes may need to be ‘worn in’ to make sure there are no issues during the event.  Even the correct lacing of shoes can be important to avoid the feet slipping around; which causes friction and ultimately blisters or corns.  Your podiatrist can show you a number of different lacing techniques.

Areas of skin that seem to be prone to blisters should be taped ahead of the event and other long walks and training sessions.  These should be identified during training sessions in the lead up to the event itself.  Your podiatrist can recommend a tape that is flexible, breathable and low-irritant. Some areas of skin may even need more significant padding or protection.  We carry a range of silicone products designed especially for this reason.

A visit to your podiatrist well in advance of the event is the time to discuss general foot or leg aches and pains.  Treatment can be implemented for shin splints, knee pain or arch pain to allow a comfortable training period before the event.  If orthotics are required, it is better to introduce these a month or more before the event, so you can get used to them and any adjustments can be made.

A last minute dash to the podiatrist is great for making sure nails are clipped carefully, corns and callouses are removed and taping can be applied pre-race.

Let us help you prepare for the event or even come and see us afterwards for some well-earned foot pampering and rehab!

We wish all teams participating in this year’s Oxfam Trailwalker good weather and good foot health!