Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatments for Athletes, by John Vonhof. Wilderness Press (third edition, 2004), 341 pages (softbound, illustrated), $17.95. ISBN 0-89997-354-X.
Fixing Your Feet is the definitive guide to foot care for hikers, runners and walkers. Its author, John Vonhof, has extensive first-hand experience fixing foot problems at trail runs and adventure races around the world. He has added the collective wisdom of dozens of outdoor athletes who tell us what works for them. The book is well organized and full of great information. The personal anecdotes of athletes, many of whom I know either personally or by reputation, greatly enhance the readability of this reference book. The result is a smorgasbord of ideas and instructions for preventing and fixing any foot problem.
I read the first edition of this book while preparing for my 7,400-mile Calendar Triple Crown hike in 2001. Solo for much of the 300 days, I needed to be my own foot-care expert and this book taught me what I needed to know. I completed that hike with very few blisters or other foot problems. Then in 2003, I ran the 220-mile John Muir Trail in four days. I blistered horribly and lost several toenails, so back to the book I went. This time I read the 2nd edition. Shoe and sock technology, taping technique, foot-care products and websites had changed a lot in that time. More changes have come along since, resulting in the completely revised 3rd edition which documents state of the art foot-care today.
The key to this book’s effectiveness is its practical advice. Starting with what hurts, the author guides us in discovering what’s wrong with our feet and what we can do about it. For example, the book lists 159 ways to prevent blisters! Multiple solutions are provided for each problem because what works for one person’s feet doesn’t work for everyone, and as I learned on the John Muir Trail, what works today may not work tomorrow.
In 341 pages, the book covers all aspects of foot care and treatment. There are so many avenues to explore that I’m still trying out some of the suggestions on my longest runs and hikes. I refer to this book constantly and I believe it deserves a place on the reference shelf of every serious outdoor athlete.
“Flyin’ Brian” Robinson is the only person who has ever completed the Calendar Triple Crown, a 7,400-mile, triple through-hike of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide Trails, all in the same year. His 10-month odyssey through 22 states traversed the entire length of the three major U.S. mountain divides in 2001.
Disclosure: Brian Robinson receives no proceeds from the sale of this book and is not affiliated with BackpackingLight.com except as a guest author.