Everyone is familiar with the term “an army travels on its stomach,” meaning food and supplies are at the center of any military advance. However, if you were ever an infantryman you know the real truth – an army travels on its feet! Because of this, proper foot care has always been of the utmost importance and a soldier who does not take care of his/her feet will soon be out of commission as sure as if they were hit in combat.
A soldier’s feet can fall victim to almost as many ailments as can be imagined during a long, seemingly endless march. But one of the most common is the simple blister. While blisters are not unique to soldiers, the consequences can be – when a jock gets a blister it might mean a game on the bench; when a soldier does so, it can mean falling behind and leaving his squad short a vital man. Luckily, blisters are easily avoided or treated if you follow a few simple, commonsense steps.
The first aspect of keeping your feet healthy, whether protecting from blisters or other injuries, is using quality footwear. A cheap pair of boots may get you to the bar on an off payday week, but are unlikely to get you to the finish line during a long hump. If you doubt me, just look and see how many high end boots have been approved for official wear. I thought it was important enough to have my own top-of-the-line boots that it was the first thing I ever bought on credit – might have meant a few less trips to town but also a few less trips to sick bay as well.
When considering your footwear, do not forget this includes socks as well. Thin cotton socks, such as those often issued, are far from comfortable and terrible when it comes to protecting your feet. They fail to protect from dangerous friction and, once wet, stay that way – two of the worst things for healthy feet. A lot of old timers swear by two pairs of socks and this still holds true, but if you use thicker quality socks you can get away with one pair. Wool has long been a favorite but can be more expensive than necessary and today’s wool blends can provide the same protection at a fraction of the cost.
Many foot injuries and ailments can be avoided by ensuring one thing – that your feet stay dry. Depending on your mission and the weather, this may be next to impossible but it should not keep you from trying – dry most of the time is better than always wet. At the end of each day, you should follow these easy to do steps: wash and dry your feet, apply foot powder to prevent friction and replace socks with a clean dry pair. Letting your boots air out and dry is nice if possible, but is of course mission dependent. Taking care of your feet is more than simply a matter of comfort – it is mission critical.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.