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>Has anyone heard about developing callouses on your feet BEFORE a big hike
>like the AT ? Thick callouses on your feet would help resist "hot spots" and
>I figure with a group of 420 something people, somebody musta heard about
Indeed we have, here at the Greenway Laboratories. Actually, I did research
this when I was looking for ways to toughen my dog's feet for the trail.
Several options are available. Colin Fletcher, of the "Complete Walker III"
(did he ever do a CW IV?) suggested a daily massage of rubbing alcohol to
the feet. This does seem to stimulate callusing. The other, which he also
mentions, involves tincture of benzoin. Tincture of benzoin is a fluid used
as a surgical adhesive. This gives a protective coating more than a thicker
callus. Usually in an alcohol base, it can be applied with a roll-on device
or sprayed onto the appropriate areas. It is tacky for 2-3 minutes before
drying. A veterinarian recommeded benzoin to me from his experience as a
college basketball player. It seemed that each team member walked through a
long shallow pan filled to about 1/4" with benzoin before a game. Once dry,
this prevented blisters on the court (actually, the court never got
blisters). It does make open cuts sting, however.
Off-the-shelf, this is usually found in "Second Skin" treatments. A local
pharmacist ordered a large bottle of hospital-grade for about $5.00. Benzoin
compounds are also sold by veterinarians and hunting dog suppliers as
"toughening agents" to harden the dogs' pads against briers and sharp
stones. Pad-Tough was sold to me by Tom Grenell, DMV, who wrote "Hiking
with Fido" for *Appalachian Trailway News*. I can say that it worked for my
dog, Bonnie, and I. Happy Jack also sells Pad-Kote, which may have another
active ingredient, tannic acid. While I don't know it by experience, Happy
Jack's reputation is very good.
I am *not* recommending any veterinary product for human use. However, you
Tom Grenell DMV
Animal Hospital of Emporia
715 N Main St
Emporia VA 23847