Never Just “Toughen Up” and Ignore It
There is a common misconception that the best way to deal with foot problems in the military is to make your feet “tough” by putting them through plenty of abuse.
There is a small bit of merit to that. The more you reasonably exercise your feet, the stronger your bones, muscles, and other tissues become – which makes them more resistant to strain and injuries.
But there’s a big difference between working out your feet and overworking them. Overuse can easily result in injuries if your feet just aren’t prepared to take that strain yet.
And if you’re just cramming your feet into rough, ill-fitting boots to “toughen them up,” all you’re going to get is pain instead.
So “toughen up” wisely. Treat your feet like any machine. Improve them through deliberate, beneficial means – not by just beating them around!
Address Your Calluses
Calluses fall firmly into the “toughen up” school of thought, but having them can do more harm than good. They’re not so much a sign of your feet being stronger as much as there being a weakness in your footwear or foot structure. This weakness can be especially terrible if a long day of marching causes a blister to form under that tough skin.
Whatever may be causing your calluses, having these issues properly addressed can eliminate those sources of friction and make you feel a lot more comfortable. We are happy to provide you help with that.
To deal with calluses themselves, soak your feet in warm water for 15-20 minutes to soften the skin, then rub the callus gently with a pumice stone. It takes several sessions to properly pare a callus down – do not try to grind it all off in one go or you’ll damage your skin.
Remember, the goal here is not giving you pampered, baby-smooth feet; it’s to treat a problem.
Ensure Your Military Boots Provide the Support You Need
Military footwear must meet specific requirements, but that doesn’t mean you have to force yourself into boots that aren’t comfortable or don’t meet your needs.
Your military boots should provide full support for your arches, enough room for your toes to wiggle around without being crammed together, and be lightweight while still protective. These factors will help prevent friction, fatigue, ingrown toenails, and overuse injuries.
You might also be in a position where custom orthotics can provide you significant help for occasional heel pain, gait abnormalities, or even pain in your legs, knees, and lower back. If this is the case, it is essential that your military boots be able to accommodate the inserts.