*Foot Notes From The Nurse*
By: Aricrn
25 January 2005

Education is not cut and dried knowledge. It is an adventure best tasted through exploration, demanding explanation or questioning and good ole’ trial and error.

Before one can run, one must first learn to walk. Which leads us to today’s discussion. If your BOV broke down, how would you get out? If your horse died, how would you travel? If someone stole your bicycle, how would you traverse terrain? You’d walk. That’s how.

Alright this is not really a beginner’s class but let us start from the beginning. Everyone has a Bug-out-bag. Did you remember footgear? Did you go down to Wal-mart and buy some "work-boots"? Possibly steel-toed? Did you go to the nearest Eddie Bauer Store and buy the most expensive boots you could find? Are they still in your closet?

Traveling by foot, whether running or walking, takes preparation. Have you prepared yourself properly? There are several points to walking, hiking and running. Today we’ll stick to two basic points: your boots and your feet.

Although I am not a podiatrist, I have walked many a mile in my boots, in all kinds of weather and all kinds of terrain. Your boots need be of sufficient quality but also need not be prohibitively expensive. Steel-toed boots are out unless you are definitely going to stay in one place and you are working with heavy equipment and then they can be a questionable choice. Since nothing is ever for sure in this life, I would cross steel-toed boots off my list. That being said the minimum boot quality should resemble the basic combat boot: lug sole, leather (unless you live in the desert) and high top. The lug sole supports the foot as a stable platform while protecting the foot from sharp objects on the ground. The thickness of the sole will also decide warmth in winter. The further your feet are off the ground the warmer they will be. Frostbite can do worse than kill. It can injure you and cause great suffering. Leather is the best choice (except desert terrain) for an all around boot because it is in my opinion, the most durable. High top leather boots also gives support and protection to your ankles. It is quite hard to quickly run away or if you are "BAD" enough, run after a bad guy with a twisted or broken ankle. And by the way, if I am with you and come up lame, take my gear and rifle and leave me just enough rounds in my sidearm to take out as many bad guys as I can before I put myself down. Does anyone remember Op-Sec? Just kidding :) or am I? Think about it. How prepared are you? How prepared do you want to be? After you have acquired a good pair of boots what’s next?

Breaking in your boots properly is as important as getting them in the first place. OK, everyone, I’m sure has heard the story about Grandpa in WWII breaking in his boots by urinating in them. I wouldn’t recommend it for two reasons: 1) It’s urine. Duh. ; 2) It does nothing to prepare your feet. How then do we prepare our feet?

Walking is one of the most important ways to prepare your feet. We all are getting softer by the generation. Before you start walking let us cover a little hygiene first. Clean and dry. This would be a no-brainer you would think but it is not. Wash your feet every day. Change your socks to clean socks at least every day and if you are traveling far, change them more often. How often you need to change depends on how much your feet sweat and how far you walk. The only way you will know is by checking your feet every time you stop when possible/safe. Toe-nails should be short but not exposing the nail bed. They should also be cut straight across with only the most minimal of rounding at the edges. Basically, round the edges just enough to keep one toe from poking the other toe next to it. Next just get out and walk. You should start slowly and work your way up to distance. If you get a blister, something is wrong. Check for incorrect boot size and fit. Have you done too much too soon? In breaking in your boots you will also break in your feet. Both are best done slowly. Besides keeping your feet clean and dry, you must do the same for your boots. Good old fashioned Kiwi or Shine-ola, for you old boys, is still the best for keeping your leather healthy. So what did we cover?

Your feet and your boots can be your most important assets for keeping your hind quarters out of a sling. Clean and dry is important but nothing replaces practice. So lets all get out there and walk. Plus, it’s good for you………gimme’ your left, your right, your left……

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