By: Michelle Postma

Guys, in my first season I got trench foot. Aka foot rot aka feet rotting away like dead fish. First, the areas between my toes began to get raw. There was this particular spot between my pinky and fourth toes that acts like a pocket and collects sand. The sand rubbed away at the skin until it was red, irritated, and hurt. My heels began cracking. The bottoms of my feet developed a sponginess (sponge is not ever a word I want to be applied to my precious feet). The sponginess spread towards the middle of my feet until there was a spot right in the middle of my sole that began to bleed. Every time I took a step it hurt like the dickens.

Then I broke my toe by slipping off a raft into the chicken line* and got COVID. It was the only thing that saved my feet. Because I was off the river for two weeks.

From now on my dogs are treated like princesses. There will be lotion, lotion, lotion in socks at night, a pumice stone, Neosporin, shoes while on land, and flip-flops in the shower… I found this intriguing foot mask but I can’t use it yet because there are still cracks in my heels. It’s January! What am I doing?! Writing this is giving me a new motivation to go put lotion on my feet right now. Bye!

Disclaimer: This is all from my own experience. It is not medical advice. Also, do not smell your friends’ feet if they ask.

Prevention:

  • On the water, wear shoes that allow feet to dry 
  • Clean feet with soap and clean all debris away
  • Dry feet thoroughly
  • Apply Lotion to feet
  • Wear socks and shoes on land
  • Use a pumice stone to remove dead skin
  • Wear shoes in the shower

There is not much consensus about what actually causes foot rot, but…..

Possible Culprits: 

Treatment:

  • Keep feet as dry as possible
  • Put antifungal powder in shoes
  • Apply lotion and wear socks at bedtime

*A ‘chicken line’ is a key safety feature that allows people to hold onto it for balance in rapids or, for people to utilize when re-entering a boat.

Michelle PostmaHi I’m Michelle Postma. I grew up in Columbus, GA and lived for summer camp every year in Brevard, NC – mountains of waterfalls, moss, and afternoon sunshowers. I love rowing, reading fantasy/scif-i, biking, doodling, and being a lizard in the sun. My favorite beverage is water or bean water. My favorite food group is salt. If you know any dad jokes, please tell them to me. Thank you!

What do you get if you cross a stream and a creek? Wet feet!