Calus/rough spot under big toe, above joint, anyone else?

3:08 p.m. on April 24, 2007 (EDT)
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I've noticed that well into my hikes, I start to feel sensitive spot underneath my big toe(s) right above where the joint is. Sure enough, I am getting a calus right there. Seems to happen no matter what shoes I wear. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

8:44 p.m. on April 24, 2007 (EDT)
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Without being a podiatrist (foot doctor) or seeing it, I can only venture a guess. I would suggest you (a) see a podiatrist and (b) get and read a good book like "Fixing Your Feet".

But, my first guess would be (assuming you got a good fit of your boots from a trained, experienced boot fitter) your socks. You should be wearing 2 pairs of properly fitted socks - skin layer is thin, wicking socks, the outer layer is a top quality heavier sock (preferably merino wool, such as SmartWool, though some people like Thorlo, Fox River, and a few others with some synthetic mixed in like CoolMax or other poly). Another thing that helps a lot is a good foot powder, like ZeAsorb, which is a favorite of distance runners.

If your socks are bunching up under your toes, that will cause irritation. If your feet perspire a lot, so the socks get wet, that will also do it. Then again, most people develop a certain amount of callouse on their feet after a lot of hiking or running.

Oh yeah, the boot fitting should have used the socks you normally would wear - wearing a thicker or thinner sock combination can also cause callouse or even blisters.

Again, check with a professional foot doctor.

11:42 p.m. on April 24, 2007 (EDT)
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Thanks I will check out your suggestions. My feet (and me in general) sweat a lot so I'm guessing that's the biggest cause right there.

1:54 a.m. on April 25, 2007 (EDT)
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I suspect that your foot is moving around in your boot. You may be able to correct this by replacing the stock footbed, if you still are using it, with something like Superfeet, an off the shelf orthotic or better yet, a custom orthotic. I have a pair of Superfeet I use in ski boots and they work pretty well. Bill's suggestion of two socks also might work. A snug fit works for some people. I prefer a bit of room in my boot, but I haven't had your problem-maybe I'm just lucky.

8:30 a.m. on April 25, 2007 (EDT)
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I used to get that when I was wearing Lowa Alpsptiz (spelling approximate, this is going back many years (30+)) - they were leather mountaineering boots - I was using them for backpacking (great support) - I figured out that the forefoot was so stiff that my foot was trying to flex inside the rather rigid boots, which was abrading the underside of my big toe(s). I wouldn't notice it until 10-15 miles into a days walk on the first day, then earlier each day after. I applied moleskin to the underside of my toes and that seemed to help.

Anyhow - if you're wearing really stiff (crampon ready) boots - that may be your problem. And a layer of moleskin may just do the trick for ya.

After I switched to a more flexible boot (Danner mountain lites, and (when they expired) mountain lite II's) - the problem went away.

1:13 p.m. on April 25, 2007 (EDT)
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warm weather is approaching everywhere. Start going barefoot as much as possible and start toughening up those tootsies.

12:30 p.m. on April 26, 2007 (EDT)
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Well I'm using Merrell Chameleon II Stretch shoes now, and I have the green superfeet in them. But I noticed it happened in two other pairs of shoes so it's not shoe specific. I think it has a lot to do with the sweat factor. What is moleskin ???

8:06 p.m. on April 26, 2007 (EDT)
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Moleskin is an adheasive backed fabric type substince used to prevent blisters. you put it on a "hot Spot" before a blister develops.

The best thing that ever happend to my feet were a pair of chaco sandals!!! They have a vibram sole and a very supportive arch and heal cup. I love them and wear them whenever I can. I wear them with coolmax liners and have not had a single problem since. I have a large bunion and had somthing called a mortons nuroma that made for all kinds of foolt problems. Now I can walk in the rain, cross streams, and let my feet sweat all day and not care because there is no shoes to get wet. It is in my opinion esential to wear socks with them to prevent dry cracked feet and chafing from the straps. If your problem is bad enough this may work 4 u.

5:20 a.m. on April 27, 2007 (EDT)
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get tough and toughen the tootsies.

A year after you start a martial arts class and get into running (each 3 times a week), you'll never have to worry about a blister again.

There are some side effects with the above program...

your whole body feels better, you sleep better, you loose weight, sex is better, hiking is easier, you don't have to worry about sticking things on your feet and you can wear any shoe with or wihout socks and wet or dry won't make a bit of difference.

But, we americans take the easy way out and never correct the problem...just alter it

9:11 a.m. on April 27, 2007 (EDT)
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Ed G wrote "your whole body feels better, you sleep better, you loose weight, sex is better, hiking is easier, you don't have to worry about sticking things on your feet and you can wear any shoe with or wihout socks and wet or dry won't make a bit of difference."

I agree with most of what you wrote, Ed, accumulating miles on your feet will toughen both the skin and the muscles - so your foot will be more stable under load, mile after mile.

I do, however, take issue with the last point about wearing any shoes with or without socks wet or dry. No amount of training can ward off trench foot, where your feet get infected from prolonged exposure to cold, wet conditions. You can end up losing the foot in extreem cases.

In like fashion, while "getting tough" may let you rambo along with sore feet - there's nothing like an infected blister to ruin a trip.

11:08 a.m. on April 27, 2007 (EDT)
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Check out the web for pronation. Can be fixed with correcting insert. Sometimes a problem that shows up with wrong running shoes.

What (might) be happening is that you are slight pushing off with the inside of your foot/toe. After a couple thousand times of doing this the body lets you know.

7:25 p.m. on April 27, 2007 (EDT)
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ok Steve, I yield to the cold

2:00 a.m. on April 28, 2007 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the info. I'm guessing it's probably just something as simple as needing to toughen up my feet, but I'm not going to go out barefoot and all that. Should your feet hurt after a day hike?

3:09 a.m. on April 28, 2007 (EDT)
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No, your feet shouldn't hurt after a day's hiking. There can be several causes-your feet themselves-some kind of structural problem such as bone spurs- or your shoes or boots are causing the problem.

I am no expert on feet or fitting boots, but I have walked a fair number of miles with and without a pack. For me the important thing is getting a shoe that fits right, has an insole that matches the arch in my foot and a good sock. I have somewhat flat feet, so I can't wear a boot or shoe with a high arch. I can tell if that's the case as soon as I try on a new shoe or boot.

I can wear ski boots all day long as long as I put a decent insole in them. I use my own Superfeet insoles in rental boots-I leave the stock insoles at the shop. Those are actually made under license to Heat Factory and sold under their brand name.

You may want to go to a high end outdoor store that has a boot fitting specialist (not all do, but some shoe manufacturers actually give seminars to salespeople on fitting their shoes). Custom orthotics can cost as much as a pair of boots, but perhaps that is what you need.

I've worn running shoes for so many years that wearing a dress shoe for even a few hours hurts my feet because they don't have the same cushion and flex like a running shoe. If I can get away with it, I'll wear a black pair of tennis shoes instead.

7:27 p.m. on April 29, 2007 (EDT)
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Really? That's not good news to hear. My feet always hurt after any kind of activity, just like sore muscles after lifting weights, same feeling really. I thought that was normal.

8:33 a.m. on April 30, 2007 (EDT)
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It's normal if your feet are not in good condition -

Your feet, like any other part of your body, will be sore after a days unaccustomed activity, for a number of reasons. If your foot muscles aren't used to the extra work of walking on rough terrain, they can be stretched or even bruised, which can hurt like a bugger. Well fitted stout boots can mitigate this somewhat by supporting the feet - sort of like an exoskeleton if you will - preventing the feet from spreading out, bending more than normal or being bruised by the rocks and other rough stuff you're walking on.

For toughening the feet, I do agree with Ed G. that you need to work those muscles and toughen them up. I've found that barefoot walking and running on a beach is a great way to get my feet in shape for abuse/hard use - it does very little to ready your feet for abrasion, but it does wonders for the muscles, tendons and ligaments that hold all those little bones together!

For toughening the skin, some people apply rubbing alcohol to their feet on a regular basis -it's supposed to harden the outter layer of skin - not sure if it's a good idea or not (I'll admit to never having tried it). Sports like tennis, basketball, racquet ball, all of which involve fast starts and stops and a lot of pounding on your feet can be wonderful for toughening both the muscles and the skin.

And nothing can beat a well fitted, well broken in, pair of boots with soles stout enough to protect your feet but not so stiff that you can't bend your foot easily.

12:27 p.m. on April 30, 2007 (EDT)
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Steve, I think you might be right now that I think about it. Back in college I had no car and I was biking and walking everywhere and I didn't have this kind of pain in my legs and feet because I was doing it every day for two years. Now, not so much. I'm going hiking about once a week and that's probably why I'm hurting, just not used to it.

8:59 p.m. on April 30, 2007 (EDT)
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If I only went hiking once a week, I would be in constant pain. When one gets to be an OGBO (Old GreyBearded One), it gets harder and harder to stay in shape. And one does not heal as quickly. Plus, as someone here commented, I think that young kids (anyone under 50) just macho their way through the pain and don't notice it as much (both female and male macho).

There are a number of skin-toughening products on the market, thanks to the large number of runners. The "Fixing Your Feet" book lists a number, including rubbing alcohol as Tom mentioned, but also benzoin (which we usually think of for its bandage-adhering properties - keeping moleskin and other blister and calluse coverings in place) for generic solutions. Brand names include Cramer Tuf-Skin, Mueller Tuffner, New-Skin Liquid Bandage, and Bonaseptic's Tuf-Foot.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is to keep calluses and rough skin smoothed with a pumice stone or calluse file. If the calluse gets too thick, you might have to have a podiatrist shave the excess off (had to have that done after one month-long expedition that involved many days of hiking in the same set of socks - not many laundromats in the back country).

1:14 a.m. on May 1, 2007 (EDT)
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I can't take credit for the alcohol idea-that was Steve's. When I lived in Hawaii, I spent a lot of time at the beach and I think that toughened up my feet there-lots of sand and salt water. My feet are a lot less tough now, but I think just walking will eventually help toughen up your toes.

4:23 a.m. on May 1, 2007 (EDT)
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dance on your living room carpet - barefoot.

If you have hard wood floors, even better.

Friction. You gotta have friction.

Even a ghost couldn't walk without friction.

7:00 a.m. on May 1, 2007 (EDT)
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Amen to Bill - this getting older stuff is for the birds! As for your feet - exercise 'em - walk - a lot - the more you use the muscles the better condition they'll be in and the less pain you'll have at the end of the day. Take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk to the deli instead of driving, walk to the post office - get an hour or more per day walking and your weekend excursions won't seem as tough - you won't need to "rambo it out" on blistered feet.

If you're really smart you'll spend some of that time walking on side-hills so your ankles toughen up as well.

Of course hitting some steep ups and downs is great for the leg muscles!

And a trip to the foot doc to keep those calluses to a reasonable thickness is a good idea - what you really don't want - and trust me on this - is that you don't want that calluses tearing away and leaving a raw exposed untoughend new skin. It seems that bouldering a friction pitch barefoot seemed a good idea to me - once. That ten mile walk OUT was problaby one of the most miserable few hours I'd ever spent in my life.

10:17 a.m. on May 1, 2007 (EDT)
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Thanks for all the suggestions here =)

9:30 p.m. on May 18, 2007 (EDT)
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a.k.a. Chris Moore

I have the same thing, so does my brother. I think its genetic. We are as different as can be in Shoes, lifestyle, diet, exercise. I do have abnormally wide feet so I buy loose shoes. The only thing I can find and I trust is to soak then use a stone to knock it down. I have not tried yet.

August 22, 2014
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