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[pct-l] Re: Orthotics

My feet were the main reason Walt and I got off the trail last year.  I 
didn't realize that people with dry feet will have a harder time long 
distance hiking than those with moist feet!  The first week on the trail 
Walt got 2 blisters at the same time and they were gone in a day -- he has 
moist feet!  He cut his boot where the hot spot was and never looked back. 
While I, with the dry feet, walked in agony most of the way. After several 
layovers, podiatrists, x-rays, second skin, surefeet, foot cream, and 
shoe/sock changes, got some relief.  Dummie me had orthotics at home but 
didn't bring them with me on the PCT!!!

Just as important as boot/shoe fit is foot type. Charlie said he has a high 
ach in his foot requiring lots of arch support. Using orthotics (or 
surefeet, etc.) will also help to avoid ankle injury by giving your whole 
foot more support and less fatigue. I also have high arches and started 
using surefeet (they helped a great deal) in big Bear and wished that I had 
used my orthotics from the beginning.

What I am trying to say, in my rambling way, is to look at the WHOLE 
picture, not just the boot!  It would be a good investment to go to a 
podiatrist with your 1st choice of footware in hand and get an evaluation.  
Explain your hiking requirement (your terrain/mileage coverage) so the 
podiatrist will be able to evaluate the stress your feet will be under.  It 
may be as big, if not bigger, an investment than anything besides pack 
weight you do toward the success of your hike.  

I have developed Tarsal Tunnel Syndrom from not wearing my orthotics last 
year!  Please don't make the same mistake I did!  For those of you who have 
dry feet too, Lac-Hydrin 12%, works great for me NOW (wished I had it on the 
PCT).  This is an expensive prescription cream ($42 for 400G - large 
bottle!) but it works and is slow to wash off (making fording with it on not 
so bad.) Walt was great to trim my nails and shave off the callouses that 
developed on the balls of my feet, but in the long run it was those elusive 
orthotics I should have used.  It is very important to keep callouse 
trimmed,  they build up and pinch nerves causing lots of pain!

The PCT was a wonderful life fulfilling experience for us and I wish the 
same for you -- don't make the same mistake I did.  Please -- buy good 
fitting footwear AND SEE A PODIATRIST before you leave, it might just make 
your trip successful and enjoyable. 

Pat ---Happy Trails Couple


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