Preparations are already underway for the 3-day walk on September 11-13 in beautiful Seattle. Based on previous years’ experience, I fully expect to be overwhelmed with feet in the medical tent at each day’s finish line!
The most common ailments seen in the podiatry section are, thankfully, not too serious, but they can certainly make walking 60 miles difficult or impossible. On a hot day, blisters are probably our #1 complaint. Big ones, small ones, clear, bloody, and even under the toenail are no surprise.
For the medical side of things, we have two clinics scheduled in August to get all of the fantastic volunteer medical staff well-versed in how to evaluate and treat each walker. I am proud to be coordinating training for the podiatry section of the tent, with the goal of keeping as many of you on the course as possible.
But, as a registered walker in the 3-day, how can you avoid having to visit me after the finish line?? Good question, so here are some tips…
1. Make sure that your shoes fit well, being both long enough and wide enough. Please break them in for several weeks prior to the 3-day, including wearing them on your longest walks.
2. Running shoes tend to be better-made than a typical cross-trainer or walking shoe. Wear these. If you have trouble choosing the right model for your foot type, visit your local podiatrist. I would be happy to assist anyone who is convenient to my Bellevue office. Or, a good specialty shoe store if you have pretty healthy feet can also be helpful. Try Super Jock and Jill or Sound Sports in Seattle, or Foot Zone and Shoes-N-Feet on the Eastside.
3. If you are prone to blisters, try a 2-layer sock such as Wright socks to help prevent chafing. They sell them at REI and Shoes-N-Feet. Also, do not wear 100% cotton socks. They stay wet with perspiration and can really irritate your feet. Choose synthetic sport socks instead. Bring several pair so that you always have dry ones.
4. Bring a supply of bandaids, moleskin, “second skin” and antibiotic ointment. These are supplied for free in the medical tent, but if your blisters are not serious enough to be seen in the tent, it could save you a trip.
5. Consider wearing arch supports or custom orthotics in your shoes for even more support- 60 miles is a long way. Again, break these in several weeks in advance.
6. Stretch well before and, more importantly, AFTER each day’s walk.
7. Products such as Bodyglide can be applied to areas where you are prone to chafing. Try these out on shorter walks prior to the event.
Look for more updates on the 3-Day as it approaches!