Duct Tape and Socks

So, here’s the committment:  We decided to do this on New Year’s Day (since that falls on a Wednesday and I’ll be off).  Looking at their website, it does look like I might have to do the 5K instead of the 10K because I won’t be running (ever).  Oh well, just getting out there and doing it is the thing, right?  All this is in preparation for two other events later in the year–the Diva Dash in Boulder (if they have it there again) and, for me, the SheRox sprint triathlon in Denver.  I had really planned on doing that one this year, but the miserable heat and the real downer I experienced in the previous job just sent me off in a tailspin and I let emotion take over and my workouts went to hell.  I’m better now, on so many different levels.  It’s funny when you realize that you suddenly feel so much better when you didn’t think you were feeling all that bad.  That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense when you read it, but if you’ve been through it, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

And what the hell, are you wondering, does any of that have to do with duct tape and socks?  Don’t worry, I’ll get there.

In preparation for this 10K in just a couple of months, we decided that we’d better get some 6-mile walks/jogs/whatevers under our belts, just to get the feel of what that was like (10K = 6.2 miles if you didn’t know.  I didn’t for a long time, so I’m not being snarky.)  We figured out that we are a tad over 3 miles away from our library, which is mostly downhill there, making it mostly uphill on the way back.  Perfect.  The library offers a chance to pee half way (very important for ladies of a certain age), and the route I picked is for the most part through good neighborhoods with wide streets and sidewalks. 

Saturday, we put on our walking shoes, grabbed the water bottles and off we went.  I was a little concerned about my right foot (the one that acted up so much in Spain) but I had confidence in my shoes and I was eager.  It was all pretty good until shortly before the halfway mark.  I felt that hot feeling right on that spot on the ball of my foot.  I was pissed, let me tell you.  I don’t want to think that I’m not going to be able to walk long distances, because I AM going back to Spain and finish my Camino, even if I have to wait another 10 years. 

Anyway.  Got to the library and I sat at one of the outdoor tables and pulled off my shoe.  Good news/bad news.  My foot wasn’t really the problem–the actual bony structure, that is.  I was, instead, rubbing a big ass blister right on the bottom of my foot!  Ack!  250 miles in Spain and not one blister, WTF was this?  I have a little bit of a foot obsession when I walk because I HATE blisters, so I’m always taking care of my feet.  But the problem was not the shoes this time–it was the socks.  My all-time favorite brand of socks is Smart Wool.  This from a girl who hates wool–way too scratchy.  However, these wool socks are magic–they are not scratchy, have wonderful soft padding under the feet and they don’t shrink when you wash and dry them.  I love these socks.  Unfortunately, the pair I was wearing had seen way too many better days.  The padding at the critical spot was kaput, hence, too much skin rubbing on the shoe.  I could see the fluid was building in that spot–nearly the size of a 50-cent piece (if you can remember what those are–just say bigger than a quarter) and I knew if I walked the 3 miles back to the house, I’d have a foot wound that would take a long time to heal.  Not an option.  Luckily it was Saturday, so things were open–and I had carried my wallet, something I normally don’t do.  G’s credit union was just down the street on the way back, so we split up–she to walk back and me to get some cash and call a cab.  I thought about the bus, but wasn’t sure of the Saturday schedules and how long I’d have to wait. 

Anyway, after some banking rigamarole, I got the money, called the cab and got home.  Then I took a good look at my foot.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  The skin was raised up (blistered) only around the edges of the hot spot, so I punctured it with a sterile needle and allowed the fluid to drain.  That’s the best way I’ve found of dealing with blisters.  You take the needle and puncture just at the edge and allow the water to drain out–keep the area open to air over night while you’re sleeping and wear soft, padded footwear for a day or two.   Do NOT pull off the skin.  The raised up skin acts as a natural bandage and eventually peels off when the new skin grows underneath.  My foot was a bit sore, but otherwise seemed to be in decent shape.  I didn’t have the deep, hot bone pain that I had previously.  The heat all seemed to come from the irritated skin.  That was good.

All that happened Saturday.  I took it easy, wore better socks, etc.  Kept lotion on my feet, didn’t pick at it (the hardest part).  So, today, I decided I wanted to walk.  I tried to go swimming yesterday, but got there late and lap swimming was taken over by a swim team, so no go.  Anyway, all day I kept thinking, I need something to put directly on my hot spot so that friction wouldn’t be a problem.  Then it hit me–DUCT TAPE!  Why not?  I thought about it while I was working and by the time I got off, I had the idea.  I cut an oval of tape and put it right over the tender spot, slapped it right on there, making sure to have no wrinkles or bubbles.  Then, I took a longer strip of tape and wrapped it all the way around my foot, making sure the ends were on the top, not the bottom.  THEN I found a pair of barely used socks (yes, Smart Wool) and ta da, I was ready to rock.

Long story short, I walked 4 miles this afternoon and nary a twinge!  My foot didn’t hurt, my skin didn’t feel warm and everything was in place, intact, and whole when I unwound the tape after I got back.  I think my pace was faster, too, because I didn’t anticipate pain every time I put my foot on the ground.  I’ll be keeping the roll of duct tape in the house now and putting it on every time I walk.  It may sound crazy, but if it’s going to save my feet, I am all for it.

Keep on walking!


3 thoughts on “Duct Tape and Socks

  1. There’s gotta be a website somewhere where you can submit odd uses for duct tape. Yours should win you a prize. Ha!

    Also, thanks for noticing my absence and saying hello over at Chez MakingSpace – I’m still somewhat in limbo as a result of the last few weeks’ adventures, but I look forward to coming back. Maybe I can duct tape myself to my computer until I blog?

  2. Hey GG! Good save! I admire you taking on those kinds of physical challenges. It’s a great way to focus on staying active and healthy.

    Have you tried moleskin on blisters? I always, always carry it on vacation, in my travel bag or in my first aid kit. Still, the duct tape worked so… Yay!

    Also, my gf LOVES those Smart Wool socks for the winter! I’d wear them but they are too thick for my office shoes.

    Keep us posted!

    • Hey e! I’ve never had good luck with moleskin–too thick and it doesn’t seem to e sticky enough to stay in place. I love the Smart Wool socks so much that I just buy bigger shoes to fit around them. But they also make them in “work weight” that are more business oriented. You should check them out. Warm feet are happy feet! 😉

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