*Military OneSource does not provide medical counseling services for issues such as depression, substance abuse, suicide prevention or post-traumatic stress disorder. The article below is intended for informational purposes only. Military OneSource can provide referrals to your local military treatment facility, TRICARE or another appropriate resource.
Intense training or long marches can take their toll on the toughest of feet. To keep blisters at bay, fend off fungus, and keep your feet in top shape, give them a little extra care and attention. Read up on these common foot problems and find out what you can do to avoid them.
1. Choose boots that fit correctly. Try on boots while wearing your uniform socks and gel pads or liners to make sure they fit properly. Lace them up all the way to ensure they're not putting pressure on certain parts of your foot, and that they're not too long or too wide. Your feet shouldn't be able to move around inside the boots — movement causes friction, which creates hot spots and leads to blisters.
2. Choose the right socks. Socks shouldn't be baggy or too tight. Go for synthetic socks because cotton ones will shrink fast and don't manage moisture well.
3. Layer your socks. Try wearing a slippery pair of socks — like for your dress uniform - under a heavier pair of shock-absorbing boot socks to reduce friction.
4. Try adhesive products. Before you put your socks on, layer products like moleskin (adhesive flannel), athletic tape, pressure pads, or blister bandages over sensitive areas, such as your toes and heels.
5. Keep your feet clean. Wash your feet daily with soap and water, and dry carefully between the toes to prevent athlete's foot — a fungus — from forming and spreading. Use an anti-fungal cream on the soles of your feet and on your toenails twice a week. Always wear shower shoes in the shower to prevent foot fungus.
6. Keep your feet as dry as possible. Change your socks at least once a day, air-dry your feet during breaks and apply foot powder, cornstarch, or antiperspirant to your feet when you get the chance.
7. Cut your toenails short and straight. This will help keep your feet clean and make your boots more comfortable.
8. Inspect your feet regularly. Look for abrasions, blisters, or abnormalities. Seek medical help if necessary.
9. Rest your feet well. After a long training day, give your feet a good soak, rub with a pumice stone to remove any rough spots, and dry thoroughly. Elevate and let them air out if you can, and choose looser, wider shoes when you're off duty.
Remember to buy new socks when you get new boots, let your boots air out when your feet aren't in them, and take your time breaking in a new pair. You'll find that spending the time to take care of your feet may be worth the effort.