November 26, 2017

Foot Care and Survival

Foot Care and SurvivalThis post is by Bernie Carr,

Foot care is not the first thing you think about when you think about survival needs.  Of course the top survival needs are air, water, shelter and food but procuring most of those require mobility, and thus the use of your feet.

Not long ago we camped at a “primitive” site, with primitive defined as not having easy access to water.  The nearest water source, a hand pump, was about two miles down the hill, so you had to trek down to get your water for washing and drinking.   Except for hiking trips, this was the first time we were not within close proximity to a water source.

Water can get really heavy if you carry a gallon or two, and it becomes even more difficult when you are doing it in 95 degrees heat.  What seemed like a short hike at first, felt like an eternity.  This is where the foot care comes in.   I wore wool socks with my hiking boots but decided against wearing the liners thinking it would become too warm.  But the heat and chaffing caused huge blisters to form and they made walking difficult.

The experience made me think how hard it would be if this were a permanent situation.  We all rely on water coming out of the tap, but what if that water system no longer works.   We’d be forced to find water and start having to carry water back to the home.  Or, if we had to forage for food, we’d be relying on our feet to get us anywhere.   Or if you have to run from zombies.  Having blisters, ingrown toenails or other foot ailments would make survival even more difficult.

Here are a few tips:

1.  Trim toenails on a regular basis.  Cut straight across to avoid ingrown toenails.

2.  If you do get an ingrown toenail take care of it right away – see a doctor if needed.  People tend to ignore these problems, but if an emergency were to happen, you may regret you didn’t take care of it.  If you are diabetic, then all the more reason to care for your feet.  Diabetics and individuals with circulation problems need special care as everyday foot problems can become serious.

3.  Wear comfortable shoes that fit well.  Choose shoes that have enough room around the toe area, with soles that have good traction.  The only way to make sure is to use the shoes to “break them in.”  We tested footwear a while back that turned out well.

5.  As soon as you start feeling “hot spots” tape up the area with Micropore or moleskin.

6.  Wear appropriate socks that keep your feet dry and wick moisture away from you.  I like wool socks for this reason.  Keep extra pairs with you on long hikes, in case your feet get wet.  If the seams bother you, turn them inside out.  Wearing sock liners help avoid blisters as well, but everyone is different, you would have to try it out.  Take care that your choice of socks does not make your feet overheat, since that will cause blisters as well.

7.  Let your feet dry out if they get wet or sweaty inside your shoes.

8.  To soften and freshen feet, the homemade moisturizing salve works wonders.  If you prefer to buy it, this one works very well.

9.  Keep and extra pair of comfortable shoes at the office or in the trunk of your car in case of an emergency and you have to walk home.

In a survival or disaster situation, we would rely on our feet so much more than we do in our everyday “normal” life.  Give them some attention now and avoid problems later.

© Apartment Prepper 2014


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9 Comments on Foot Care and Survival

  1. Great article, again! The extra walking/hiking in an emergency is something I’ve considered so my advice to all is to “practice” now. That means getting into shape so you CAN walk a reasonable distance. And like thou said water gets heavy quick! What we think we can easily walk changes as you add the weight, terrain, and temperature.

  2. Another tip in a survival situation is to change out your shoe laces for paracord. You never know when and what you may need paracord.

  3. If you are prone to ingrown toenails you can cut a small V shape out of the top middle of the nail. It helps the draw the edges together.

    An even better treatment is to see your doctor and have them remove the ingrown part of the nail and then part of the nail bed so it can’t get ingrown again. I had this done to one foot as a kid because I got them all the time. Never had a problem since.
    In short, see your doctor!

    • Hi Emily, Good advice about ingrowns-they can be a chronic problem so it is best to take care of them right away.

  4. Good stuff as always. I guess God blessed me with good feet, I’ve only ever gotten a blister once and that was because I had the wrong size boots issued. I’m very much an advocate of minimalist shoes as this helps my flat feet. Foot powder is a Godsend for feet though, even if you don’t get blisters carry some in your pack as it helps sore or aching feet too (in my experience).

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