In the post apocalypse world your feet are going to be your primary mode of transportation. I cannot stress enough how important taking care of your feet is going to be, if you go down with a foot injury your mobility is compromised, your ability to gather and find the resources you need to survive is hampered. And your life is put in danger not just from other survivors but from animals and other dangers. However taking care of your feet is a relatively simple task, by following these simple tips you can avoid unnecessary injury.
1. Proper Footwear
One of the easiest ways to avoid injury is to ensure your footwear fits properly to your feet. Regardless of if it’s a pair of running shoes or hiking boots your toes should not rub or feel “pinched” at the front. Your footwear should feel comfortable and supportive especially around the ankle to avoid twists and sprains. As important as the shoes fit is the treads which should allow as much grip as possible. Remember to pay attention to the wear pattern on your shoes to determine what kind of insoles you’ll need.
2. Change Your Socks
In your bug out bag you should always keep a few pairs of socks which should be placed in a sealable plastic bag (Ziploc) to keep dry. Changing your socks on a regular basis with clean ones helps keep moisture and bacteria away from your feet which can lead in injuries or infections. You can never have enough socks and they weigh virtually nothing so pack lots in your bug out bag. They also serve a secondary purpose of insulating more breakable items in your kit bag.
3. Keep Your Feet Dry
While this is not always possible you should dry out your shoes and feet as often as possible. Your situation in the post apocalypse will determine where and when you can do this. The longer you go with wet feet however the better your chances are of developing trench foot. In milder cases the skin on your feet will crack and bleed. In severe cases the entire sole of your feet can rot off leaving the flesh underneath exposed and extremely sensitive, meaning you won’t be able to walk at all. This also leaves you exposed to infection which can result in gangrene, at that point amputation will be required or you’ll die it’s a simple as that. And with the lack of medicine and trained medical professionals a very real possibility.
Mild Trench Foot Severe Trench Foot
4. Air Them Out
When you have downtime you should always remove your foot wear and socks and let your feet breath. This will allow them to dry out. Use this time as to inspect your feet for any blisters, cuts, or infections.
5. Keep Them Clean
This is common sense, but too often then not common sense is forgotten in times of extreme stress such will be the case in the post apocalypse. Use whatever resources you have available to keep your feet as clean as possible as this will help eliminate harmful bacteria and prevent cuts and blisters from becoming infected. If soap and water isn’t available wet wipes or anti-bacterial hand sanitizer will work as well.
Blisters can be extremely painful to walk on, especially when you’re not accustomed to walking for long distances. The best way to avoid blisters is to condition your feet before the collapse. Make sure your footwear is broken in so it doesn’t rub your skin raw and feels comfortable. As well spend some time going on long distance, runs, walks, or hikes as these will help develop clauses on your feet and get you in better shape at the same time.
If you develop blisters while on the move there are two methods you can use to treat them. One is to invest in something called “second skin” which is a cool gel bandage that cushions the blister allowing you to walk almost pain free. They can also be cut to size so you don’t waste any for later. The second is to pop the blister and drain it. I highly recommend if you do this to cover the blister in a bandage to prevent the skin from being worn off. Also use some anti-bacterial cream to keep the blister from getting infected. I only recommend popping the blister if it’s compromising your mobility, you’ll have to judge for yourself what works best.
7. Spare Shoes
If you have the space in your bug out bag or a place outside your bag that you can securely attach another pair of shoes I recommend you do it. First having a spare pair of footwear will allow you to switch up shoes if one pair is soaked. Second this will reduce wear and tear on both pairs and extend the life of both shoes. And third switching up your footwear on a regular basis will help air out your shoes preventing bacteria from setting in.
Remember in the post apocalypse you are your own doctor; take care of yourself as best as you can given the situation.