Tuesday, November 15, 2011

From The Ground Up; Thoughts On Foot Care

     All things being equal, I often consider the feet to be a hunters number one asset. One day afield with I'll fitting boots, or an errant step while crossing a blow down are usually what it takes to get us thinking about our feet. Sometimes sitting in camp with our throbbing feet up, scotch and Advil coursing our veins is what makes us take notice and motivates us to buy new boots. A look at what our feet do for us reveals their importance. Our feet take us to our tree stands, and carry us up. Our feet allow us to follow bird dogs through coverts, and kick out tight holding birds. Our feet allow us sure footing while wading rivers and fighting big trout. Here are a few of my thoughts, and a few things I do to keep my feet happy, and ultimately insure I spend more time afield.

     Foot Wear- we all know the importance of proper foot wear, but I'll say it again. The right foot wear will make your adventures more pleasurable. It's never when we're wearing the right boot that we think about it, so it's hard to fully appreciate your choice. The fit of the boot is important; make sure they fit correctly. If your heel floats in the back, you're bound for blisterville.

     Quality socks make a difference, too. Depending on the weather, I prefer a wool sock, but a cushion foot boot sock in the warmer months gets the trick done.

     They type of boot you use can make a difference. Deer hunters have seen a swing from traditionally styled hunting boots to rubber boots, though either kind will do the job provided the boot is matched to your hunting style. Same goes for bird hunters. Those hunting in dry conditions will benefit from a light weight moc-toe boot. That said, I use rubber boots for both deer, and bird hunting. I value the water tightness of a pair of rubber wellies, and traditional New England grouse cover is usually wet. Wellies can be found in a number of configuration; insulated/ un-insulated, camo, or plain, ankle fit, or not.

     After the hunt- there are things you can do, post hunt, to help your feet recover for the next hunt. Obviously, a warm soaking feels good, but cold will benefit you more. One trick I use it to take a standard therapeutic sports wrap, and freeze it. In the evening I sit with the wrap under my arches for 10-15 minutes. The cold pushes the fluids, which collect in your feet out. After removing your feet from the cold wrap you will quickly feel the rush of fresh blood flowing back into your feet.

     In extreme circumstances such as a twisted ankle, or a sore Achilles tendon, you can immerse your feet in an ice bath. A small dish washing tub filled with some ice and cold water will do the trick. Remember to keep the ice bath to 10-15 minutes, as any longer can cause cold burns.

     If you really feel like treating yourself, book some reflexology. A good foot massage can do wonders. Many shopping malls have massage and reflexology shops. With the holiday season approaching it is a sure bet that your spouse will drag you around shopping. This may present you with the perfect opportunity to sneak a reflexology session in.

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