Prepper foot care for bugging out

Maintaining Happy Prepping Feet in Crisis
The importance of good foot care in prepping

Keep your feet happy and primed for the bugout.
Avoid the agony of "de-feet"! Take a stand now to prevent
problems with your feet, so that your feet can stay happy in crisis.

You don't want someone in your group lagging because of
blisters; black toenails or in-grown toenails; bites from chiggers
and ticks; bruises, sprains and cuts; or something called Trench
Foot. You can prevent nearly all of these foot conditions with a
little forethought and planning.

Keeping your feet happy during crisis is a survival skill best
taught by the military and backpackers, and below we have
references from each so you can have happy prepping feet.

How to keep your feet happy in crisis
Below are the steps to take for proper prepper foot care...

#1: Learn how to minimize friction around your foot.
Friction on long journeys will cause a variety of injuries. The main
thing you can do is to reduce movement inside your shoe. Below
are some solutions to help you do just that and minimize friction.

  • Clip your toenails. Constant tapping of your toenail to your
    boot or shoe will cause black toenails. A likely source of the
    problem is that your toenails are too long. Black toe nails
    also come from shoes that don't fit so well. Your feet slide
    through each step and this causes friction.

  • Consider the importance of moleskin and athletic tape.
    You won't be able to walk another mile if you don't have
    proper foot care. Any backpacker who's hiked at least 30
    miles will notice the boots can rub and cause painful blisters.
    Pay attention to where your shoes are rubbing and before
    you develop a blister, put moleskin on the area.

  • Tip about blisters: Never pop a blister. A blister is
    nature's way to deal with friction and if you pop the
    blister, you risk infection.

    Alternatively, you can use athletic tape, pictured right, the
    way those in military training use. Athletic tape, like the
    Cramer brand, supports joints and muscles in the ankles,
    wrists, elbows and knees and minimizes instability,
    hyperflexion and hyperextension during activity. It also
    secures wound dressings and repairs equipment. It's a good
    basic to have that sells out during football season.

  • Wear pantyhose! Wet skin can increase friction and cause
    blisters. An old military trick is to wear pantyhose
    underneath socks to minimize friction and blisters while
    hiking. With pantyhose you'll also stay warmer, keep ticks
    and chiggers at bay, and you can improvise a fishing net or
    filter water.

  • Make sure your boots fit well. Avoid subungual hematoma
    (otherwise known as black toenails). Ensure your shoes are
    not too snug, but not too loose either. To check for proper
    fit, put your thumb across the tip of your shoe and press
    down to see where your toes are in the shoe. If you can't fit
    your thumb or if you can fit more than the width of your
    thumb, it's time to go shopping for a new pair of bugout
    boots. If your shoe fits well, there will be less chance of
    injury.

  • Stretch your muscles. Hiking will put stress on your
    muscles, bones, and joints, so you'll need to remember daily
    stretching exercises to keep your body running strong.
    Injuries and illnesses can take weeks to heal, so remember
    to stretch.

#2: Select the right bugout shoes.
There are two distinct camps when it comes to bugout shoes. You
can go with a heavy hiking boot or you can go with running shoes.
This is a prepping decision to ponder...

OPTION #1: Get a stiff pair of ankle boots for bugging out.
Every prepper should own a stiff pair of ankle boots, and don't
just have them -- wear them! Having heavy boots will also be
good for potentially combative situations.

There are two kinds of ankle boots you can pick:
  1. Tactical combat boots: This is the preferred shoe of the
    military and for good reason during combat. Unfortunately,
    the combat style boots by Rothco are ranked very low for
    civilian use,earning just 2-3 stars. Think of tactical combat
    boots for urban bugout. They will help you fight, step over
    broken glass and other obstacles in an urban disaster.
  2. Hiking boots. Hiking boots are ideal for bugging out into the
    wilderness.  If you choose a stiff pair of ankle boots then...

Tips for wearing your ankle boots:

  • It's important to break in your boots. Keep your feet happy
    by training them. It takes time to wear in your boots and you
    won't want to bug out in new boots because you'll instantly
    get blisters on a long journey. Wear them daily and get used
    to them so that when it's time to bug out you will minimize
    the foot discomfort.

  • Make sure your boots are stiff. Your goal for is selecting
    the right boot is to add the proper stiffness between your
    feet and the trail rocks. Additionally, the weight of your
    bugout bag will add undue strain to your ankles, which you
    can support with a quality pair of boots.

  • Lace up your boots properly. Lacing boots helps minimize
    friction so you'll have less chance of blisters, and lacing
    properly also helps distribute the pressure for better
    bloodflow.

  • Skip cotton socks! Avoid cotton socks because they saturate
    quickly with sweat and dry slowly.

  • Look for a waterproof hiking shoe. Right, the Teva hiking
    shoe is waterproof and a good cross between a running shoe
    and a hiking boot.

OPTION #2: Alternatively, consider running shoes!
The backpacking "experts" say that for long hiking you need a stiff
pair of boots and that's what they'll try to sell you. They generally
venture on 30-70 mile treks. The Military agrees that heavy boots
are a "must have," and yet, not the "through hikers.'" They
disagree.

"Through hikers" on the Pacific Crest Trail* (the hikers that hike a
long-distance trail end-to-end), use lightweight trail running
shoes versus heavy hiking boots. Why? Boots are heavy and you'll
exhaust yourself in lifting your boot each time. The drawback is
that if you rip your running shoe, you'd better have some duct
tape handy. Unlike hiking boots, the running shoes will wear
down. Through hikers have shoes mailed ahead along the trail,
but that option won't be available during bugout time, so make
sure your running shoes fit well, have
duct tape handy, and buy a
quality pair iof running shoes. Finally, be sure to stash a fresh
pair at your bugout location if possible.

    * Note: It takes through hikers the entire snow-free season to walk
    the Pacific Crest Trail, about five months.

TIP: Equip your running shoes (or hiking boots with
superfeet).
Superfeet offers professional-grade orthotic support,
performance and comfort for anyone who wants their footwear to
fit and feel better. This is the best solution to help you deal with
foot pain, arch pain, heel pain and plantar fasciitis.Make your
selection carefully based on your foot:

  • For high arches use the green superfeet, pictured right.

  • For low arches, choose the blue superfeet. Low arches cause  
    low arches, this can actually cause plantar fasciitis

#3: Wear gaiters.
Fabric gaiters wrap around your ankles to keep ticks and chiggers
from penetrating to your leg, but they can also help you keep your
feet clean and dry.

Lymeez Tick Gaiters, pictured below and right, are 12” high wraps.
They are treated microencapsulated permethrin on each fiber --
this along with the 3D air mesh confounds ticks! More thorough,
long-lasting and cost effective than sprays.
























Wearing closed toe boots with gaiters can help keep chiggers and ticks at
bay -- the gaiters will also help keep your pant legs dry.

Did you think because it's Fall that tick season is over?
Think again when it comes to Deer Ticks. According to the
University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center, Dear
Ticks actually begin feeding activity in Autumn. This is when the
first frost appears in early October and the activity continues if
there is frost on the ground and not yet covered by snow.

The excellent resource center on ticks say that about 50% of
those large Blacklegged Ticks you find November through February
will be infected with Lyme bacteria. That should tick you off
enough to read more about ticks.

#5: Keep feet dry and clean.
Water proof boots and gaiters will help you keep feet clean and
dry, but so will changing your socks and allowing your sweaty feet
the opportunity to dry out. It's important to rinse your feet now
and again if you can in a stream. While you're at it, clean your
socks by hand and hang them to the wind on the outside of your
pack, so you're ready to go with another sock switch.

The most important reason to keep feet clean and dry is to avoid
trench foot.

Avoid trench foot.
Trench foot is the result of a fungal disease that happens when a
traveler crosses many streams with dry ground in between. Socks
never get the chance to dry between. It's also called immersion
foot.

Feet become white and wrinkled, then chafing ensues making
walking painful. Feet can eventually become blackened with
gangrene and blood poisoning. Frostbite and trench foot during
the Battle of the Bulge disabled more soldiers than the enemy did!

In the trenches, soldiers of World War II were taught to keep feet
dry and clean. It hadn't previously occurred to the military that
the continual water and dirt caused such a severe problems as did
sweaty feet.

#6: Avoid Heel fissures.
Heel fissures are the cracks in though rough part of your heel.
Cracks deep enough can become infected. To avoid heel fissures,
you can use a pumice stone to smooth out the layers of skin,
then top it off with a moisturizer.


#7: Keep your tootsies warm.
When your feet are warm, you are warm. The first thing to know
is that thicker socks don't necessarily keep you warmer. It's more
about the material and the kinds of shoes you're wearing.


  • Start with the right socks. Merino wool socks will wick away
    sweat and moisture to keep feet as dry as possible. They
    "breathe" and also keep your feet toasty warm.

  • Choose the right thickness of sock for the footwear:

  • For boots, wear thinner sock. Your boot has plenty of
    insulation and you need some wiggle room because of
    the rigidity.

  • For running shoes, wear thicker socks. Running shoes
    are more pliable and thicker socks will provide the right
    cushion against friction.

  • Warm up to the idea of toe warmers. Hot hands for your
    feet may come in extremely handy under frigid conditions.

  • Consider Sock liners. If your feet are always cold, make sure
    to pack sock liners in your bugout bag. Sock liners add an
    extra layer.

#8: Importance of nail clippers.
Make it a regular routine to clip your toenails to keep them
shorter than your toes. As discussed above in #1, friction on long
journeys will cause a variety of injuries among them a black
toenail which will eventually fall off. Make sure you have a nail
clipper or at least a nail file in your bugout bag, so you can keep
the nail shorter than your toe.

























WiseGeek shows you how to care for a bruised toenail.

While you can avoid a bruised toenail when you clip properly, you
can also avoid ingrown toenails with proper care.

Avoid ingrown toenails by cutting your nails straight! Ingrown
toenail signs can begin with redness, draining or swelling, and if
you are a diabetic you must watch these signs closely. Read #8
for more information on diabetic foot care for preppers.

Here's how to cut your toenails properly:
















The video above shares the basics on how to cut your toenails properly. Cut
after soaking your feet and be sure to cut straight to avoid ingrown toenails.

#8: Diabetic foot care
Foot care for people with diabetes is always important, but even
more so in times of crisis. Learn more about how you can manage
diabetes, including how to keep your feet healthy.

  • Diabetics should wear socks at all times and never walk
    barefoot.
  • Since your feet are less sensitive, always check your shoes
    for rocks, cracks and deformities.
  • Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold temperatures when
    bathing your feet. Dip your elbow in the water to test.
  • Wash feet daily (even in crisis) ensure you also dry feet
    thoroughly between each toe.
  • Lotion your feet daily, but do not put lotion between your
    toes.

More tips for healthy feet for people who have diabetes:

  • Stockpile and diabetic socks. Diabetic socks can aid a
    person with diabetes by offering a comfortable, loose fit.
    Minimal compression to promote good circulation. You will
    always need these socks, so it's important to have them
    while the stores still carry hem.

  • Have supplies handy for diabetic wound care. Wound care
    is especially important for people who have diabetes. Even
    simple cuts and scrapes can go unnoticed and lead to
    complications, such as gangrene and amputation. Your first
    aid kit as a diabetic should go beyond the ordinary for foot
    care.

Get more information on
prepping and diabetes.

#9: Combatting toenail fungus and bacterial
infections.
Athletes foot is a fungal infection that commonly spreads
between your toes and sometimes also spreads to the nail or the
heel of your foot. Keep feet clean and dry (as mentioned above in
#5) and have an antifungal cream handy.

Below are more ways to combat toenail fungus:

  • Clotrimazole is effective at treating athlete's foot, and jock
    itch in addition to ringworm in anyone 2 years or older. It's
    on the list of 10 meds to own. It can also help you treat
    ringworm, and other types of fungal infections.



#10: Rub essential oils in your feet.
Anyone who loves essential oils has rubbed the natural goodness
in the heels of their feet. Why do practitioners of Aromatherapy
rub essential oils in the heels of feet? First, the heel of your foot
is a thick layer and so it's not as sensitive as other areas. Also,
the bottom of your foot contains large pores, along with many
reflex points and nerve endings, making them a choice area for
topical application of essential oils. In the study of Reflexology,
you'll find specific areas of the feet correspond to organs in your
body. To detoxify the liver, you'll apply essential oils to the right
side of your foot, since the right side of your foot corresponds to
the liver.
Reflexology (health at your fingertips), by Barbara and
Kevin Kunz, is an excellent book on the topic, thought it does not
discuss essential oils.

What are good essential oils to apply to your feet?
Here are a few of the best...

  • Tea tree oil is effective at a primary foot problem: fungus!
    As well, tee tree oil can relieve itching and odor, and soften
    toe nail. Combined with Epsom salt, tea tree oil is excellent
    for athletes foot, nail fungus, and softening calluses. Try the
    highly rated Tea Tree Oil Therapeutic Foot Soak by Purely
    Northwest (click on the images right and below):





























  • German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla).  German
    Chamomile's blue color comes from the chemical component
    chamazulene, a product of matricine, which gives German
    Chamomile its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Because
    of its anti-inflammatory properties, German Camomile is
    great to rub on your feet. The anti-inflammatory compounds
    that are known to help reduce pain, redness, and swelling
    due to inflammation. In addition, German Chamomile
    Essential oil appears to have antihistamine effects that help
    decrease allergy symptoms.  

Here's how to apply essential oils to your feet properly:



















There are many kinds of essential oils to rub into your feet.

Now you are ready to put your best foot forward in prepping!

Happy endings...
Happy feet are yours with proper care and planning. When your
feet are happy, you're happy.

Related articles...

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Do it yourself Hand Sanitizers
diabetic socks
Vintage trench foot ad from the military
Epsom salt uses in prepping
99 ways to spend a buck prepping the dollar stores
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IOSAT Nukepills
panty hose for survival - weird survival tool
Toe warmers
Tick gaiters
essential oils pocket reference guide
Your feet can benefit from tea tree oil - Tea Tree Oil Therapeutic Foot Soak by Purely Northwest
Tea Tree Oil Therapeutic Foot Soak by Purely Northwest
Reflexology
Help for a bruised toenail comes from WiseGeek.com
Gaiters
Athletic tape
Superfeet
Lotrimin
Teva hiking shoes
Gaiters