In honor of Veterans Day yesterday, if you are one of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces, you know that the difficult training and hard work you do can take a toll of your feet. These activities can lead to a variety of foot problems. Therefore, it’s important that you maintain healthy feet.
Common Foot Conditions Seen by Military Personnel
Depending upon the environmental conditions of the locations in which service men an women are stationed, their personal hygiene and the type of shoes or boots worn, they may suffer from a various foot ailments, including:
- Ingrown toenails
- Athlete’s foot due to the communal bathing facilities
- Blisters due to friction from socks and boots
- Corns or calluses, also due to repeated friction
- Plantar fasciitis due to improper stretching, prolonged marches – especially with heavy gear, or standing for long periods of time
- Achilles tendonitis
- Heel spurs
- Arch or heel pain
- Stress fractures
- Immersion foot syndromes due to prolonged immersion in water or contact with dampness.
Foot Care Tips
While you may not have the time to properly care for your feet during training or missions, when you do find the time, here are some foot care suggestions to help you reduce your risk of having foot conditions and/or pain:
- Wash and dry your feet daily, making sure to get in-between the toes.
- Trim your toenails short and straight across.
- Use foot powder regularly.
- Inspect your feet daily. Use the “buddy system.” Have your buddy inspect your feet for blisters, swelling, reduced sensitivity to feeling, changes in skin tone or foot shape, and frostbite during cold months.
- If you do develop a blister and need to drain it, first, clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic soap and water. Heat a straight, or safety, pin over a flame until the pin glows red. Allow the pin to cool before puncturing a small hole at the edge of the blister. Do not remove the skin covering the blister. Once the fluid has drained, apply an antibiotic ointment. Use an adhesive bandage to cover the area. If needed, apply additional padding to protect the area.
- Try to keep your feet dry as much as possible. Whenever possible, untie your boots, open them a bit, and allow any moisture to evaporate. If your feet sweat or get wet from rain or snow, if practical, remove your boots and wipe out the moisture. Whenever you sleep, remove your boots and allow them to dry out overnight in a warm place.
- Wear the right socks for the climate and to reduce the risk of blisters. Choose socks made from synthetic fibers, wool, or moisture-wicking materials that absorb moisture and carry it away from the skin. Cotton socks can absorb and accumulate moisture next to the skin. Depending upon the climate, you may need to layer your socks – either two pairs of thin socks, or one pair of thin socks and one pair of thick socks. However, if you become overheated due to climate or your activity, remove a layer as needed.
- Change your socks regularly. Always carry at a minimum one set of socks to wear, one set for sleeping and another set for emergency.
- Wash your socks regularly.
- Make sure boots or shoes fit properly. Refer to our Shoe Fit Guide for more information.
- Replace your boots or shoes when worn out.
- Wear custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Insoles. The ezWalker® provides your feet with functional support while guiding them to a better biomechanical gait with each step you take. Proactive use of the ezWalker® can help to reduce your risk of developing foot conditions and/or relieve your pain if you already suffer from a foot ailment.
- If you develop a foot condition, see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
For more information about the ezWalker® Performance Insole, visit the WalkEzStore. The ezWalker® insole is the only custom orthotic sold on the Internet that uses our unique 7-step casting process. Plus, it comes with a 90-day, money-back guarantee. Try it today!
Thank you for your service to your country!
Remember … when your feet feel good, you feel good.