Oxfam Trailwalker Blister Prevention and Foot Preparation
About Oxfam TrailWalker
The Oxfam Trailwalker event is billed by the organisers as the ‘Ultimate Team Challenge’. Teams of four must complete a 100km course of Australian bush land to raise funds to help overcome poverty and injustice around the world. Whilst very challenging, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to complete. Just about anyone can do it, with each team committing to raise at least $1,000 AUD to support Oxfam’s global charities.
Oxfam Australia has been working with communities for over 50 years and instead of simply giving handouts, believes in empowering people with skills, knowledge and resources to help them provide solutions to poverty.
This involves funding longer term projects around the world including water and sanitation to health and education.
The event originates from an elite HK based military squad, who used the Trailwalker as training. Since then it has grown into a global event taking place in 13 countries.
To read more about the Oxfam TrailWalker Event, click here to see their official website.
Sounds Easy, why all the fuss?
Whilst it may sound easy, walking 100km’s in under 48hrs, is both exhausting mentally and physically! It takes months of preparation and training, to ensure you can complete the event.
Countless entrants fail to finish each year due to debilitating blisters, which could have been prevented by adequate training and foot preparation.
Working as a Podiatry Volunteer at Oxfam TrailWalker
Since 2006 I have been a Podiatry Volunteer at the Oxfam Trailwalker. At each checkpoint, along the course, Podiatry Volunteers are stationed to provide treatment for those who are having foot problems. It’s not unusual to see a massive line of people, waiting for treatment on aching feet. Podiatry is definitely the most utilised service at the checkpoints!
Unfortunately, most of the problems I have witnessed firsthand could have been avoided if competitors had better foot preparation. Things as simple as a poor sock and footwear choice can have a significant impact in an event of this nature. It’s incredibly uncomfortable attempting to finish the race, after treatment on an enormous blister!
If you are unable to walk the event, another way to support Oxfam is to Volunteer (like me!). You don’t need to be a Podiatrist to Volunteer, they have ‘General’ support as well. Generals Volunteers work directly on the trail, handle logistics/preparations and station the checkpoints. Medical Volunteers are needed in the fields of Massage, Podiatry and Physio. Medical students are also welcomed to volunteer and fully qualified staff are there to supervise.
Why include a Podiatrist visit into your Oxfam TrailWalker preparation?
We all have different feet. Therefore depending on our foot type, we are susceptible to different injuries and problems during training and the TrailWalker event.
Before you even begin training, it’s worth seeing a Podiatrist to provide a comprehensive assessment of your feet and provide you with measures for preventing problems. This will ensure that you can complete all necessary training, so you have the required fitness base.
I have assisted many teams to prepare for the Oxfam Trailwalker event and all have successfully completed the event, without major foot issues. I can see members individually to provide a full assessment. Or I can arrange for group sessions to be held to provide all team members with preparation information. I can provide advice on:
- Different techniques for foot strapping
- General advice on overall foot comfort
- Socks and which ones are best for this kind of event
- Training & Preparation exercise to ensure your muscles are ready
Don’t wait…start preparing for Oxfam now!
Make an appointment, at Pivotal Podiatry Clinic now, for a comprehensive foot assessment and injury management plan, by calling (03) 9939 3339.
Our clinic is in Melbourne, so it's best to see us if you are doing the Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne.