Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Taking Care of Your Feet (Athletes foot and nails)

One of the least mentioned touring topics is taking care of your feet.  When your on the bike for any length of time especially in the wet, your feet get damp especially in between your toes, and in the warm weather your feet just plain sweat.
Athletes Foot (Tinea Pedis)
Not nice to cycle with or any time for that matter.
This the perfect environment for atheletes foot (tinea pedis) caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes.  On a long trip this can be a real discomfort and if not taken care of can cause an infection etc..

I seem to be prone to this so I had to learn how to prevent/avoid/treat!  So here's my advice:

TIP 1:  As often as possible get your shoes off and air your feet

TIP 2:  Dry your feet thoroughly fungi don't like dryness!  I take special care to dry in between my toes; not usually available when camping but if you can use a hairdryer on them after a shower.

TIP 3: plenty of clean socks and change them in the day on a long ride

TIP 4: In hot weather try cycling with a good set of sandals they do SPD clip in sandals now

TIP 5: Treat with athletes foot medication, as always check with your doctor first but theres plenty of over the counter powders that do the job.

TIP 6: Treat them early not later, especially the moment you feel any tingling

TIP 7:  Go for decent cycling shoes, my current combination is a pair of goretex spd cycling shoes and a pair of SPD compatible sandals.

There are a lot of socks available for cycling and they now come impregnated with silver which makes them anti microbial and anti fungal, so it's worth while investing in some if your prone to it like me.


Another issue that can occur is bruising to the nail, mostly the big toe nail.  I have only found a few causes to this two of them avoidable:  A good old bang to the nail, very tight socks or poor fitting shoes.

You can't really avoid the accidental knock, but you can avoid tight socks (I have this if I cycle for too long in goretex socks) and when I cycled in a pair of shoes that didn't fit well.  The answer is simple don't cycle in poor fitting shoes and don't cycle for long stretches in tight fitting socks.

I have found one thing that does exasperate it and that's letting your toenails grown too long, it doesn't have to be much just letting them go as long as the softer front of your toe can be enough!  so keep them well looked after.

heres a good guide to cutting them:  Follow this to a cutting guide

Nasty and painful
Heres a good guide about them: Follow this link for a guide to them

Heres a link to treating a bruised toenail:  Follow this link for treatment

When this has happened to me touring, I have nipped into a local shop for ice and raised etc.. with some ibruprofen etc..   If your out in the wild, try to find a cold stream for some relief!  In this case "PREVENTION" is far better than cure!

If anyone else has anymore tips or advice please send them!

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