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Oxfam trailwalker is a challenging, life-changing event. This event is a tough physical and mental challenge, but also highly rewarding as it raises money to help fight poverty around the world. During this 100km walk, there are many challenges that you may face, some of which include blisters, chafing, rolled ankles and sore muscles and joints.
Prior to the walk
The number one reason for people not finishing the Oxfam Trailwalk is due to blisters. Prior to the walk, you can ‘prepare’ your feet so they are in optimal condition for the walk. This includes cutting your toe-nails to prevent pressure and bruising, having excess callus removed by a podiatrist and moisturising your feet daily to improve skin elasticity and minimise hardening.
During the walk
It is also important to recognise ‘hot spots’ whilst you are walking. Hot spots are slightly warm or sore patches of skin and are often the beginning of a blister. They are often caused by rubbing or pressure. If you think you notice a hot spot, get it attended to as soon as possible or tape the area with non-allergenic tape (hypafix) to prevent a blister from occurring.
Below are some tips that can help keep your feet happy throughout the walk and prevent blisters. Blisters are caused from an increase in moisture and friction so keeping your feet dry is the best way to avoid the likelihood of blisters.
Shoes: Ensure that you have at least two comfortable pairs of walking shoes or hiking boots. You should have a spare pair to change over every so often to reduce pressure or rubbing on the same spot for the entire 100km. Do not wear brand new shoes during the event as they have not been worn in properly and may rub more than usual.
Socks: Wear high quality moisture-wicking socks that are a wool blend or a synthetic/cotton blend. Do not wear pure cotton or pure wool socks as these hold in moisture and increase your chance of getting blisters! It is also recommended that you change your socks regularly during the walk to provide your feet with some relief.
Tape: Taping your feet with non-allergenic tape (such as hypafix) can help reduce friction when walking. To prevent the edges of the tape rolling when you put your socks on, round the edges of the tape instead of leaving the corners square. There are many different taping techniques that walkers use, so practice taping your feet prior to the event so you know what you like. It is recommended that you cover your feet with hypoallergenic tape where you know they are prone to getting blisters or hot spots.
Moisture control: Some people spray their feet with anti-perspirant deodorant during the event to prevent moisture build-up. Avoid applying Vaseline or pawpaw ointment to the feet as they can actually increase friction between the skin when walking for long periods of time. Socks are a useful tool for controlling moisture.
Come and see one of our friendly Podiatrists in the lead up to the Oxfam Trailwalker for pre-walk taping, footwear advice or any other queries or concerns you may have.
After the walk
Put your feet up and relax, you have just completed 100km so it is well deserved! Try soaking your feet in an Epsom salt bath for relief. It may also feel nice if you roll your feet on a spikey massage ball to release the tension in your feet. If you have any niggles or pains that persist after the walk, ensure to seek professional medical advice from a Podiatrist or another health professional.
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