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Old 01-23-2004, 20:59   #1
The Reaper
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Feet - You Can't Get Anywhere Without Them!

Feet and Boots

I am not a podiatrist, but based on my discussions with Docs and many years of experience in moving out, I will offer the following for you aspiring SF wannabes.

Your feet serve to support you and your load, absorb shock, and to provide balance and forward motion.

Your feet need to be tough, yet protected, and cared for. This is achieved by rucking in well broken in, but not broken down boots, by monitoring your feet's status, and knowing how to care for them when problems arise.

Get at least two, if not three pairs of leather combat or jungle boots to train in. Break in techniques vary, but use plenty of softening agents like saddle soap and Neat's Foot oil. Rotate the different pairs of boots from day to day. Ensure that you do not injure your feet needlessly breaking in the new boots. Make sure that the boots are comfortable, getting the proper insoles or orthotics as required. Ideally, the boots you bring to SFAS should have between 50% and 75% of their service life remaining. People arrive every class with new boots, improperly fitted boots, and just plain worn out boots. These people are usually limping around the compound by the end of the first week, if they are still there at all.

Sizing is also critical. Try on new boots with the socks you intend to wear. Get them slightly large, as most people's feet will swell a half size or so on extended walks. I know guys who wore their boots without socks in the field. They were a rarity, and I never saw any of them move out hard and fast.

Socks are just as important. Bring new, clean, correctly sized socks, and as many pairs as are permitted. They will help absorb some of the punishment, and thin, ratty, old socks do little to assist in protecting your feet. HSLD, Gore-Tex, sock liners, or aftermarket socks are not permitted.

As you break in your boots, you will notice painful contact points and "hot spots" forming. STOP and treat them as soon as the pain becomes noticeable. While rucking, you should plan on stopping for a break for five minutes per hour or so. Do not waste that time sitting on your rucks. Take the ruck off, take your boots off, and examine your feet. If they look good, let them air out for a minute or so, powder them, and consider changing socks. You will ruck longer, faster, and more often if you have a workout partner. Foot care is also improved by having your partner check your feet as well.

NEVER ruck with wet or recently wet feet. As many members can attest, even well conditioned feet are vulnerable and soft after a good soaking (like swimming). Do not try to combine training activities, and carry a spare pair of boots and several pairs of socks to swap into should the ones you are wearing become soaked.

Any hot spot areas starting to redden should be closely monitored, and moleskin applied as needed. See an infantryman or medic for advice. An experienced SF Medic is probably the best source for advice. Some people also use Vaseline or deodorant on their feet to protect them. Once you have started to blister, you will be losing training time waiting for them to heal so that you can resume training. Do not let them get that bad. You do
not want to learn what a Doc can use Tincture of Benzoin and a syringe for.

Start short, slow, and light, and work up to long, fast, and heavy. If you screw up, and are say, 10 miles into your 20 mile walk when you notice significant blistering, I hope you have a cell phone and a buddy with a car. You will screw up your feet for at least 2-3 weeks by walking back.

Areas that get a lot of friction and contact will start to harden and
calluses will form over time. This is good. The dead material of the callus will absorb the friction and impact that would hurt the skin on your feet. Most people find that issue boots will cause calluses to form on the balls of the feet, the heel, under the toes, and on the outside of the boot, depending on the contact points of the boots on your feet.

As you walk, the boots and your feet will develop a symbiotic relationship. The boots will soften and begin to flex where required, and the contact points on your feet will toughen up. Eventually, your boots will be almost as comfortable as a pair of slippers, and your feet will be tough as nails. You will not need a pedicure, though you will need to keep your nails trimmed properly to prevent injury or damage.

In summary, thoroughly break in several pair of properly fitted new boots, get some new socks and foot care products, and condition your feet well prior to coming to SFAS. The course is difficult enough without either being the one guy (minimum) every hut has sniveling about his feet, or the one gutting it out, but dragging ass at the back of the group.

Good luck, and get moving.
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:37   #2
boat guy
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TR Sir,
Thank you for your invaluable insight. I have posted a link here to a book which expounds upon proper foot care. I was suprised not to have found this book posted elsewhere when searching by author or title. This came recommded to me by a recent SFAS selectee. Called "Fixing Your Feet," the book is written by an adventure racer and details recommendations for solutions to just about any foot related problem from ingrown toe nails and blisters to shin splints and knee pain. I believe this to be an excellent resource for any soldier especially those with SF aspirations. It is an outstanding read with thorough research and information. Perhaps better posted in book reviews, I thought this fitting for those headed to Ph 1.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...324380-8824856
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Old 03-11-2005, 09:41   #3
NousDefionsDoc
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Looks good Boat Guy. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 03-14-2005, 00:44   #4
72_Wilderness
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This past summer when I went backpacking with my Boy Scout Troop I was instructed to remain standing if the "rest" was going to be a short rest. For us short rest where 5 minutes. I was insturucted to take my pack off and take my boots off when we took long rest. Long rest where 20 but no more than 30 minutes. It worked fairly good. Does anyone know of anything better or different?

Just the fact of knowing you where taking your pack and boots off, almost always made me feel like I had more energy.
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Old 03-14-2005, 08:31   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72_Wilderness
This past summer when I went backpacking with my Boy Scout Troop I was instructed to remain standing if the "rest" was going to be a short rest. For us short rest where 5 minutes. I was insturucted to take my pack off and take my boots off when we took long rest. Long rest where 20 but no more than 30 minutes. It worked fairly good. Does anyone know of anything better or different?

Just the fact of knowing you where taking your pack and boots off, almost always made me feel like I had more energy.
Sounds like BS to me.

Situation permitting, we always took a knee at any stop, and would take the ruck off if down for more than a minute or two. Rest breaks were 10 minutes or so, every hour. 20-30 minutes were not rest stops, they were for meals or to do something that took that long. If tactical, I never had both boots off at the same time unless I was swimming. Maybe in an admin situation for foot checks.

TR
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Old 03-17-2005, 16:08   #6
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Thats good medicine, the information will be a big help. Sunday im leaving on job to survey pipeline, we will be coving about 15-25 miles a day which should be good conditioning.
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Old 07-22-2005, 14:10   #7
Warrior-Mentor
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One more Resource

FYI. Here's another resource on foot care...

"How do I take Care of My Feet?" is the title of Chapter 7 in GET SELECTED FOR SPECIAL FORCES, which covers:

> Pre-Road March Foot Care Drill
> During Movement Foot Care
> After Movement Foot Care
> Blister Prevention
> The 2 causes of blisters and how to minimize or eliminate each
> Blister Treatment
> 3 methods of lacing your boots with pros and cons for each
> Reducing the chances of Stress Fractures
> Preventing Toe Nail loss.
> Reducing Chances of twisted ankles

Chapter 8 is the "Anatomy of a Boot", which covers:

> Why it helps you to know the Anatomy of a boot
> The basic construction of a Boot
> 4 different types of soles and the pros and cons of each
> Proper Boot Sizing
> How to break in an new pair of boots
> Boot inspections, care and field expedient repairs

Additional details are available at www.warrior-mentor.com

Cast or tab,
JM
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Old 07-23-2005, 06:02   #8
BMT (RIP)
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Feet - You Can't Get Anywhere Without Them!

Damn my ole dogs must of been tough!! I' can't recall any problems with my feet or boots. My first issue boot were the boots with the buckles around the calf's,rough leather bottoms. The only problem with then were they were a BITCH to shine.
I always found boots laced tight,clean socks worked for me.

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Old 07-23-2005, 15:13   #9
72_Wilderness
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Reaper
Sounds like BS to me.
TR what part(s) are you referring to? By BS is it correct to assume that you mean Bull Shit, not Boy Scouts?
72W
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Old 07-23-2005, 17:03   #10
The Reaper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 72_Wilderness
TR what part(s) are you referring to? By BS is it correct to assume that you mean Bull Shit, not Boy Scouts?
72W
Remain standing? Hard to do foot checks like that, isn't it? Unless I am very well broken in, I like to check feet every 60-90 minutes.

BTW, the word you are looking for is were, not where.

TR
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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Old 07-24-2005, 00:59   #11
72_Wilderness
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“Remain standing? Hard to do foot checks like that, isn't it? Unless I am very well broken in, I like to check feet every 60-90 minutes.”

No doubt it would have been hard to do foot checks while standing, on the trip we did not do foot checks. Everyone was instructed on what a hot spot was and how to deal with it. When some one had a foot problem or problem with their gear they would either call out to take a rest to fix the problem or they would wait until the next rest to fix the problem. And most of the crewmembers did the latter.
I am not saying what we did was correct or proper but we made it to the end of the trail. After thinking about what our crew did and what you are suggesting it is obvious that your way makes the most sense for people that are in excellent physical shape and trained well. The Boy Scouts use the method I described to deal with the different levels of physical shape and training level of each person on a crew.

Thank you for the advice that all of you have given. The Boy Scouts are good but is there really a question of whose advice I am going to follow.

“BTW, the word you are looking for is were, not where.”

Thank you for the correction. I have no excuse but I am trying to prevent the problem by writing replies in Microsoft Word and then copying them over.
72W
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Old 07-24-2005, 07:46   #12
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Sure.

Why would Boy Scouts need to check their feet for blisters as often as SF soldiers? People who are less conditioned need more rest breaks and foot checks, not fewer. Waiting till the next scheduled rest break to check out a hot spot will frequently turn them into blisters.

I believe I will quit wasting my time trying to help you and will let you use your vast Boy Scout experience to answer your own questions from now on.

Drive on, kid.

TR
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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

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Old 07-24-2005, 15:43   #13
72_Wilderness
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“Why would Boy Scouts need to check their feet for blisters as often as SF soldiers? People who are less conditioned need more rest breaks and foot checks, not fewer.”
I agree with you, we should have checked each other’s feet during rest. There isn’t anything that I can do now to change the past all I can do is remember all this good information that you and others have provide and follow it in the future.

“Waiting till the next scheduled rest break to check out a hot spot will frequently turn them into blisters.”
I only did that once. Took care of the small blister when we rested. The next day when I felt a hot spot I did not hesitate to call for a break to take care of the problem.

“I believe I will quit wasting my time trying to help you and will let you use your vast Boy Scout experience to answer your own questions from now on.”
I believe the comment I made, “The Boy Scouts are good but is there really a question of whose advice I am going to follow.” may have been misunderstood. When it comes between who has the best advice, I am going to agree with QP’s before I agree with the Boy Scouts. I was just offering the information of my backpack trip to give others some ideas, obviously what we did was not the best way to do things. I believe it was a mistake to compare what the Boy Scouts do and what QP’s do.
My apologies for the confusion and misunderstanding that I created.
72W
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Old 07-24-2005, 15:55   #14
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Regarding socks in general, when in the service i bought some good Thorlos socks, particularly for a 25 mile movement to be made in the course we were in.

Well, they were of great use sitting at home and not on the base, the date for the march was earlier than expected and all i had were some normal thickness socks, borrowed a pair of thicker socks from a platoon mate who was not coming with us due to a fractured leg.

Oh, and the boots were Nokia rubber boots.

Did develope hot spots during the march, taped them with the items i had with me and they did not bother significantly, only at the last 4 miles which we speed marched/ran, i started to notice them more.
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Old 07-24-2005, 22:30   #15
Detcord
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Reaper
Feet and Boots

I am not a podiatrist, but based on my discussions with Docs and many years of experience in moving out, I will offer the following for you aspiring SF wannabes.

Your feet serve to support you and your load, absorb shock, and to provide balance and forward motion.

Your feet need to be tough, yet protected, and cared for. This is achieved by rucking in well broken in, but not broken down boots, by monitoring your feet's status, and knowing how to care for them when problems arise.

Get at least two, if not three pairs of leather combat or jungle boots to train in. Break in techniques vary, but use plenty of softening agents like saddle soap and Neat's Foot oil. Rotate the different pairs of boots from day to day. Ensure that you do not injure your feet needlessly breaking in the new boots. Make sure that the boots are comfortable, getting the proper insoles or orthotics as required. Ideally, the boots you bring to SFAS should have between 50% and 75% of their service life remaining. People arrive every class with new boots, improperly fitted boots, and just plain worn out boots. These people are usually limping around the compound by the end of the first week, if they are still there at all.

Sizing is also critical. Try on new boots with the socks you intend to wear. Get them slightly large, as most people's feet will swell a half size or so on extended walks. I know guys who wore their boots without socks in the field. They were a rarity, and I never saw any of them move out hard and fast.


Socks are just as important. Bring new, clean, correctly sized socks, and as many pairs as are permitted. They will help absorb some of the punishment, and thin, ratty, old socks do little to assist in protecting your feet. HSLD, Gore-Tex, sock liners, or aftermarket socks are not permitted.

As you break in your boots, you will notice painful contact points and "hot spots" forming. STOP and treat them as soon as the pain becomes noticeable. While rucking, you should plan on stopping for a break for five minutes per hour or so. Do not waste that time sitting on your rucks. Take the ruck off, take your boots off, and examine your feet. If they look good, let them air out for a minute or so, powder them, and consider changing socks. You will ruck longer, faster, and more often if you have a workout partner. Foot care is also improved by having your partner check your feet as well.

NEVER ruck with wet or recently wet feet. As many members can attest, even well conditioned feet are vulnerable and soft after a good soaking (like swimming). Do not try to combine training activities, and carry a spare pair of boots and several pairs of socks to swap into should the ones you are wearing become soaked.

Any hot spot areas starting to redden should be closely monitored, and moleskin applied as needed. See an infantryman or medic for advice. An experienced SF Medic is probably the best source for advice. Some people also use Vaseline or deodorant on their feet to protect them. Once you have started to blister, you will be losing training time waiting for them to heal so that you can resume training. Do not let them get that bad. You do
not want to learn what a Doc can use Tincture of Benzoin and a syringe for.

Start short, slow, and light, and work up to long, fast, and heavy. If you screw up, and are say, 10 miles into your 20 mile walk when you notice significant blistering, I hope you have a cell phone and a buddy with a car. You will screw up your feet for at least 2-3 weeks by walking back.

Areas that get a lot of friction and contact will start to harden and
calluses will form over time. This is good. The dead material of the callus will absorb the friction and impact that would hurt the skin on your feet. Most people find that issue boots will cause calluses to form on the balls of the feet, the heel, under the toes, and on the outside of the boot, depending on the contact points of the boots on your feet.

As you walk, the boots and your feet will develop a symbiotic relationship. The boots will soften and begin to flex where required, and the contact points on your feet will toughen up. Eventually, your boots will be almost as comfortable as a pair of slippers, and your feet will be tough as nails. You will not need a pedicure, though you will need to keep your nails trimmed properly to prevent injury or damage.


In summary, thoroughly break in several pair of properly fitted new boots, get some new socks and foot care products, and condition your feet well prior to coming to SFAS. The course is difficult enough without either being the one guy (minimum) every hut has sniveling about his feet, or the one gutting it out, but dragging ass at the back of the group.

Good luck, and get moving.

^^^I'd just like to say that The Reaper's advice is about the best
anybody could recieve, anywhere, period. Read, and re-read his post
about 1,000 times. Then read it some more.

I always had tough feet and never went on sick call for blisters, ever.
Too many guys are lazy and expect some aftermarket socks or "high speed"
whatever to take the place of walking in boots with a heavy ALICE pack on.
It won't.

My secret??? LOTS of miles rucking up and down hills with a 80-100lb ruck
and wearing well-broken in jungle boots with clean, serviceable, issue
socks.

I've seen guys with feet that looked like hamburger meat, because they
were lazy and didn't think it would get that bad. As The Reaper says, you
will be lucky if you last a week with weak, blistered feet. Hope you like intense
pain too, cause you'll get a boatload!!!

Rucking with blisters is bad enough, but when the medic has to scrub
the wound to prevent infection??? Priceless!!!! Don't learn the "hard way."
Prepare!!!


Broken-in boots, new, issue socks, and hard work is the only way to get
tough feet. There is never a substitute for hard work and thick callouses.

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