Whether you are a rucker or in the military, foot blisters are one of the worst problems you are likely to deal with. You can often tell when a foot blister starts forming, from the hot itching right to the pain. Your ruck march will surely come to a quick halt if this happens.
Read on to find out how to take care of your feet during a ruck march.
What is a Foot Blister?
A foot blister is created when a pocket of fluid builds up beneath the upper layer of your skin. It can contain pus, blood, skin oil, or simply water excretions.
Foot blisters are formed to provide cushion to damaged skin cells, because of damage to that area of your skin and allow that hot spots to heal.
What Causes Foot Blisters During a Ruck March?
A ruck march can result in blisters because walking for hours can result in a lot of friction for your feet that causes your feet to start heating up, particularly in hot spots like the heel or toes.
If you are in the military, the ruck march can be very competitive and if you are new or your feet sweat more than usual, you may get blisters. Your feet may also be susceptible to blisters due to poorly-fitting boots, new boots, loose socks, foot sweat, or incorrectly broken-in boots.
So, how to prevent blisters when rucking? Read on and let’s take a look.
How Do You Take Care Of Your Feet For A Ruck?
This is your checklist for things to do before you go for a ruck march.
Use Proper Boots
By simply wearing the right boots, you can prevent blisters from forming on your feet during your rucking march. Choose boots according to the climate or environment that you plan to ruck in.
You can choose specific rucking boots for cold climates.
Waterproof boots are excellent if your track includes walking through water.
Additionally, make sure that you’re properly breaking in your boots. Well-broken in boots will save you hours of pain and annoyance.
Use The Right Socks
Just like your rucking boots, you need socks that are right for your terrain and climate.
Your socks must keep your feet sweat-free, and Merino wool socks can do that.
The socks also help in giving your feet a snug fit in your boots and avoid friction that may occur if your shoes are loose. Use clean socks always and keep spare socks in your backpack.
Trim Your Toenails
An important part of your foot care, trimming your toenails will help you prevent you from getting toe tips or toenail blisters. These can form on your feet around or under the toes, or on the tip and cause a lot of pain.
Break-In Your Boots
One of the most important foot care measures is to break in your boots properly before the rucking march. This can’t be overstated. Your feet are rubbing against the boots on the inside with every step.
The best way to do this is to wear your boots during your everyday activities.
As your feet and boots become used to each other, the boots will begin shaping their motions according to yours.
How Can You Toughen Your Feet For Rucking?
If you are starting out with rucking, it is important to start slow.
For toughening your feet, start walking short distances, maybe a few miles daily, and keep increasing as your stamina builds up.
You will soon toughen your feet and skin, and be ready for long-distance rucking.
For those of you in the military, you may be marching several miles regularly and this will toughen up your feet.
You may have to do your rucking while carrying a lot of weight because of your gear. Your body will slowly get very used to this.
How Do You Protect Your Feet During A Ruck March?
Keep Your Feet Dry
To do this, you can bring an extra pair of socks and foot powder in your bag pack during your ruck. Both of these will go a long way to prevent blisters as they reduce friction on your skin. Change your socks and apply foot powder if you feel your feet sweat.
Bring Your Old Shoes
Even if it seems that your new shoes are properly broken in, it may be a good idea to bring your old rucking boots along. This is because it takes several hours of wear and walking to break new shoes. This way you will have the option to switch to your old boots in case your new ones start rubbing against your skin so that you can avoid blisters.
Use an Anti Blister Balm
Because constant friction leads to blisters, rubbing an anti-blister balm in the proper places can prevent blisters. The balm forms an invisible barrier on the skin and protects your feet from your shoes as you walk.
Be sure to rub your anti-blister cream on some common hot spots for blisters, including your heel, toes, instep, back of the ankle, and sole.
Examine Your Feet for foot blisters
During the marching, if you feel your shoes rubbing your feet or any pain, stop and examine your feet.
Check for hotspots that may turn into blisters and possibly cause an infection. If you find any, apply anti-blister cream or blister powder, and change into dry socks.
Be Prepared For Foot Blisters Treatment
Despite all your training, preparation, and care, you may still get blisters during your ruck. It is important to be prepared to manage or treat the blisters. Be prepared for a foot blister event and keep a blister care pack in your gear.
If you do feel a hot spot, you can choose to simply manage it by changing your socks, applying a cream or powder, slipping into your old boot, or simply toughen up and carry on with your marching.
The alternative is to pop the blister but this is not advisable at all. If you do this, you may get an infection and the lister will take longer to heal.
If the blister pops accidentally, wash the area with water and soap, apply an antibiotic cream and cover it with a bandage.
This must be done in a clean and sterile environment to avoid infection.
After completing your ruck, check your feet for blisters. You must take care of your skin and feet as much as possible. In case you have a hot spot or any blisters, treat them properly and check regularly for any signs of infection. Keep your feet dry, wear clean socks, and make sure to change the dressing every day.
Rucking can be a great way to lose weight, especially once you calculate the calories you can burn. But you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself in the process.
Follow the above steps and you’ll be ready to deal with any foot blisters that pop up.