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Taking up walking? Your local podiatrist is here to help | Find Your Stride

Updated: Mar 16, 2023

Following on from my previous post about our daily step count and the benefits of walking, I've decided to write about some of the common foot problems we might encounter when walking more often. It's obvious why walking in Scotland is so popular, the scenery is stunning and all you need to enjoy the outdoors or the sites of Edinburgh is a pair of healthy feet, some decent walking shoes/trainers and a pair of socks (obviously other clothing might help but they're optional and weather dependent). Read on for hints and tips to help you avoid the most common walking related complaints we see in clinic, this article might just keep you walking!

Skin changes caused by walking

Two of the most common complaints we see in the Edinburgh clinic are blisters and callus, both can be extremely painful:

  • A blister is a fluid-filled sack produced by acute friction and pressure

  • Callus/corns are caused by lower grade friction and pressure over a longer period.

The following make blisters, callus and corns more likely:

  • Ill-fitting shoes

  • Stiff areas of the shoe's upper

  • Wrinkled socks or seams in socks against the skin

  • Excessive moisture

  • Foot deformities causing irritation in footwear.

How can you prevent skin changes?

  • Keep your feet as dry as possible

  • Always wear socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes

  • Wear properly fitting shoes

  • Look at specialist sports and walking socks which have either padding or double layers that can help reduce the chance of getting blisters

  • Pay attention to the materials used to make your socks and shoes, are they breathable? Will they keep your feet cool and reduce sweating?

  • Keep the skin on your feet in good condition and use an emollient when required.

If you do get skin changes, what should you do?

In most cases, blisters heal naturally and do not require specialist attention from a podiatrist. The body will reabsorb the fluid and the blister will dry and peel off. The skin that forms on top of the blisters provides a natural defence to infection. Ideally, you should not pierce a blister with a needle but allow it to heal naturally.

You can cover a blister with an adhesive dressing or gauze. If the blister is causing you pain, cover the area with a soft dressing and change the dressing daily. Once the blister bursts refrain from peeling the skin, keep the area clean (salt water is enough) and cover the exposed skin with a dressing.

Callus and corns take a longer period of time to form and do protect underlying tissue (skin, bones or joints for example) to a certain point. If the skin changes cause you pain, you should seek advice from a podiatrist, who will carefully help with the hardened skin and provide advice of future management.

Foot pain: Another common problem, particularly for new walkers

Movement and use of the foot can cause overuse injuries associated with the soft tissue and bones. These problems are common is people who are keen to get fit and take on a strenuous exercise regime that they (perhaps) aren't prepared for. Foot pain can be linked to the biomechanics of your walking, the way that you move, existing weakness or increased strain on the muscles, joints and ligaments. In some cases increased walking can cause damage to tissues in the foot and a more serious problems may arise. My biggest tip here is patience! No one gets fit in a week, it takes consistency over a much longer period, lots of rest/recovery and self-care is required in order to exercise regularly and safely (avoiding injury). To compliment this simple foot and ankle exercises can help to keep your feet strong and improve your walking ability, along with general care of your foot. Ill-fitting footwear and poor equipment can also be a cause for pain, so ensure your equipment is fit for purpose and test anything you intend to use before setting out on an extra long walk.

When to see your podiatrist at Find Your Stride Edinburgh

If you have pain for more than three weeks, such as tingling, numbess, soreness, stiffness or stabbing sensations, and your feet are stopping you from being active, then you should make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists. You can do this by clicking here.

During an appointment at Find Your Stride, your podiatrist will examine your feet and ask you some questions about the following (or similar) before suggesting treatment:

  • About the pain and what it feels like

  • When your symptoms started

  • What type of shoes you usually wear

  • About your work, lifestyle and sporting activities.

If you're unsure about any of the information above, don't hesitate to get in touch, you could even book a free 20 minute call.

Find Your Stride!

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