Brisbane Oxfam Trailwalker – Getting Your Feet Ready!

Brisbane’s Oxfam Trailwalker is now under two months away! That’s right, the weekend of the 21st to the 23rd of June 2019 is set to be a great one, with teams set to walk from Mount Glorious to Mount Coot-Tha in 48 hours with the goal of raising one million dollars for an incredible cause.

While the mission is more than noble and is everyone’s focus, our focus is slightly lower – on your feet, that is! With the event now operating for longer than we can remember, we’ve seen our fair share of pre-event and post-event pain and injuries. Some of our team have even been part of the on-site Podiatry team on the day – so we’ve got plenty of experience with the what often goes wrong with regards to the feet and legs, and stops participants from crossing that rewarding finishing line. 

So today, we thought we’d share some of the main things we tend to see on the day so you can learn from these mistakes and make your walk (or run, if you’re brave!) a fun and successful one.

1. Look for those red spots on your feet now – and mark where they are!

By red spots, we mean spots where you’re experiencing any rubbing – even if it hasn’t caused a blister or too much discomfort, yet. We’ve got to think of proportions here. If you’re getting a little bit of rubbing (even if it’s not even bothering you) after 2-10km on a training walk, you’ve got to consider what that’s going to be like after 100km. One word: painful. It only takes a certain amount of friction to cause a blister, and then every single kilometre after that with that blister will be a painful one! 

So plan ahead, know your vulnerable spots, and pop some padding or blister protection there on event day – better to be safe than in a world of discomfort!

2. Family has given you some great new gear, right before the event? Show it off after the event!

Family is great like that, right? They’re supporting, encouraging, and they’ll surprise you with gifts and goodies to help you out. Unfortunately, new gear (specifically shoes) are the last thing you need right before an event – because they open you up to a whole new world of unforeseen problems, blisters and pains. Even a new pair of socks that may be thicker than your usual pair can have the same effects – putting pressure and friction on an area that previously didn’t have any.

The golden rule is that if you haven’t had weeks to wear your gear in, don’t do it! It’s a large and unnecessary risk.

3. Bring plenty of spare, dry socks!

No matter what the weather is looking like on the morning of the event, this is an essential! Rain, hail or shine, your feet are still prone to sweating, getting mud in the shoe, spilling drinking water down, and plenty of other situations that will get your shoes or socks wet! When your socks are wet, you’re at a significantly higher risk of damaging the skin, developing blisters, being vulnerable to temperature changes and the pain that can come with that (we’re talking chilblains, Raynaud’s phenomenon and the like). When your feet are cold, your whole body can feel cold too and you’ll slowly lose stamina and motivation.

If your feet are feeling cold or wet, take a break, put on a new pair of socks, warm your feet, and keep going!

4. Don’t ignore small niggles!

This is exactly like tip number one, but for any niggles that you may feel throughout your training. What is a slight discomfort or niggle after 2-10k can become much more serious of 10 to 50 times that distance! You only need to push past that breaking point to have a niggle turn into an injury or tissue/muscle damage, which will see you stopping well before the finish line. If you continue to ‘push through’ the injury or pain, as we’ve seen many do, you’re making yourself vulnerable to progressing from tissue damage to a tear and even rupture, leaving you with months of recovery.

Don’t fall into the trap! Listen to your body, figure out what is causing those niggles and make the changes you need to see you finish the event safely. If you’re unsure what is causing the discomfort or niggles, come in and see us! This is one of our specialities. We’ll perform a comprehensive biomechanical examination that includes a gait analysis so we’ll be able to see exactly what’s going on – and we may be able to even improve your performance while we’re at it!

The reality is that even though you’re absolutely sure that you’re not going to be the one to be injured this year – we’ve seen it happen over and over again, to athletes and those just ‘casually walking’ alike. The best thing you can do is be prepared, and equip yourself for success as much as you can. We’d love to be a part of that journey for you and use our expertise to help you in any way we can. To book an appointment with one of our fantastic Podiatrists, you can give us a call on 07 4638 3022

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