Festival season is here, and hordes of excited music lovers of all ages are attending open air events Europe wide. As Podiatrists we see many foot and leg festival related injuries.
Remember open air events often cover large spaces and festival goers can walk many miles in a day on unforgiving terrain. Silly or inappropriate footwear that causes foot pain and discomfort and can ruin an otherwise enjoyable few days. Pick your shoes wisely.
The most common footwear of choice are welly boots, whether it is muddy or not. Wellies are not designed to be worn and walked in for long periods, little support and no breathability can cause plantarfascitis and trench foot. If wellies are a must ensure that they fit correctly and the socks are longer that the boots to prevent chaffing and ‘welly leg’ take them off at night and change your socks.
Flip flops and other flimsy shoes can also cause plantarfasciitis if worn for many hours and miles. They also offer no protection from puncture wounds and people dancing and jumping on your toes.
Trainers or walking boots are by far the best of festival footwear.
The most common foot trauma by far when on your feet walking and dancing for hours are blisters. In a dirty environment try and avoid puncturing them because this creates a risk of infection. Tape the blisters firmly with a plaster and strapping tape over the top to obtain top and bottom blister contact. This will feel more comfortable and speed up the healing process.
Puncture wounds from tent pegs, drink cans and wood splinters etc need to be cleaned and dressed. If you can not access a medical team clean the wound with water & apply anti bac gel or use an antiseptic wipe and apply a plaster/dressing.
Trench foot or immersion foot and is much more common at wet, muddy festivals. The feet look like they have been in the bath too long, white soggy and wrinkly. This can develop into deep painful fissures under the foot that are prone to infection and potentially cellulitis and numbness. Getting the feet dry, exposed to the air and rested is essential. Take those wellies off and sleep with bare feet.
Top Tips for festival feet
1. Remember you are in a field walking and standing for long hours so wear appropriate footwear for the conditions
2. Wear natural fibre socks and change them daily, air your feet at night.
3. Don’t wear new shoes, get used to wearing your footwear before attending the festival.
4. If wearing wellies and shorts, make sure you have socks longer than the wellies.
5. Don’t walk barefoot!!!
6. Take, plasters, strapping tape, antibac gel and antiseptic wipes. If you think you might get a blister put a compeed on.
7. If something hurts seek medical advice. All festivals have a medical team and larger events will have an onsite Podiatrist.