Foot care for dry and bleeding playa feet

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ygmir
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Post by ygmir » Mon Apr 05, 2010 6:19 pm

mdmf007 wrote:
TomServo wrote:I opened up my foot on a buried tent stake. So yeah, shoes are a good idea. But, at the med station, the medic washed my feet with a 50/50 combo of vinegar/ water...and advise I try it anyways, as it helps against playa foot. Have used it ever since.
if you came to an ESD station it was 10-20% solution at most. ESD does not normally soak feet, but will give you advice and let you search out a solution. Only the most severe of playa foot gets treated.

Do not rely on ESD for foot treatments, "Radical Self Reliance"
does that apply to priapisms, too?
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phil
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Post by phil » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:52 pm

I went to a playa first aid class by some guy who does EMT on the playa. His theory is that the powder is extremely dry and caustic because it's a base. So it dries out your feet, making for cracks in the skin, then the base alkali cauterizes the wound, turning it black from the dead skin.

He recommends cold because there's a burn, and a mild acid to counteract the alkali, generally vinegar in water. So soak your feet in a weak vinegar solution.

I got playafoot pretty bad in the years I wore flipflops. Now I wear shoes and socks when I'm out on the playa, and I soak my feet once or twice a day in plain water, use skin moisturizer, and I have no problem.

Mileages vary.

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Post by DesertRat » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:59 am

Another option is to use seltzer water in lieu of vinegar. It also relieves the alkalai. Smells better and in a pinch can be used as a mixer.

<--virgin burner, veteran desert dweller

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Post by Ugly Dougly » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:08 am

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Post by Joshatdot » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:37 pm

Does it matter what kind of vinegar? cider, white, distilled, etc..

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:10 pm

Balsamic.
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Jordan 10-E
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Post by Jordan 10-E » Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:47 am

Diluted vinegar is the key. Straight vinegar sticks. That's my opinion.

My other foot care suggestions that I have learned to follow religiously are:

- Keep feet and in between toes clean of dirt. I find the dirt that gets between my toes causes rubbing and blisters. No fun.

- Cut back toenails before the event. Again rubbing, I seem to have a problem where one toenail will gouge into my other toes and cause problems. Keep em' trimmed.
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Post by chris2010 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:17 pm

I'm usually barefoot, and I plan on giving it a try on the Playa, but I do have back up shoes/sandals just in case... I'm also going to give my Vibram FiveFingers a try out there! They are the next best thing to being barefoot... well almost :)

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Anyone else ever use the Vibram FiveFingers out on the Playa?
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Post by gaminwench » Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:28 pm

I have a burner friend who loves hers on the playa... I always get a pedicure pre-playa, soak daily in cool vinegar water, moisturize before bed... good to go!

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Post by thesandman » Sun Jul 11, 2010 6:20 pm

how about a spray bottle with a mix of 75% water and 25% vinegar may work for a quick mist on the feet or hands

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Post by Sanddog42 » Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:58 pm

Has anyone tried lemon juice in water? I reckon citric acid would would work as well and smell better than vinegar.
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Post by Trishntek » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:04 am

The alkali lake bed is a base salt. Its pH is up around 9 and has the same affect on skin as bleach. The key is neutralizing the pH of your skin's environment back to a pH of 7.

Anything acidic (pH less than 6) added to pure water (pH of 7) will make the water more likely to neutralize the alkalinity of the playa dust.

Think of putting baking soda or better yet Comet abrasive cleaner and mixing it with vinegar. It will bubble and fiz until the mixture is neutralized.

The source of acidity doesn't really matter as long as, when mixed with water, it is somewhere between 5 and 7 pH. Lemon juice, grapefruit juice, vinegar or even milk are all acidic. Vinegar is around 4.5 pH and a cup added to 1 gallon of most water will be sufficient to treat healthy feet daily for maintenance. A 50/50 solution would be more appropriate to neutralize the "chemical burn" of the skin associated with "playa foot".
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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:20 pm

Many people recommend lemon over vinegar.
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Post by Token » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:09 pm

Trishntek wrote:The alkali lake bed is a base salt. Its pH is up around 9 and has the same affect on skin as bleach.
Can you cite a reference for this data?

Just because something is alkaline or acidic does not make it automatically caustic or corrosive.

Soapy water is also alkali salt with pH of ~ 9 and it has never in my 40 years given me chemical burns on my skin.

Actually, soapy water is more caustic to us than playa dust. Every time I get soapy water in my eyes it burns. Playa dust doesn't.

Playa dust is just a desiccant. All the caustic crap is just a big Playa Chicken.

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Post by Jordan 10-E » Mon Jul 12, 2010 4:52 pm

Whatever the balance between alkali (which it is) and acid we all know that it can be brutal on the skin. Whatever will neutralize it is good. Prevention is the best medicine.

One year I had a crack develop on my hand between my thumb and index finger and it went so deep it was basically through all the skin layers. That thing hurt like a b**** and was hard to keep clean. Remember your hands are almost always dusty too from working and grabbing stuff. Wash them often and give them some love with the mentioned solutions (no pun intended).

Oh and a side story about vinegar. One of the years we had a shower structure lined with black plastic. Some of our campmates used vinegar in their bathing rituals. I had to take the structure apart and clean it up. That think stunk so bad. Ugh!!! I again highly recommend and acid that is sweeter smelling (but just as effective) like lemon juice, etc... Vinegar is great but honestly there are much better solutions.
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Post by Clar-i-ty » Mon Jul 12, 2010 5:08 pm

I make a special solution of

1/8 vinegar
1/8 lemon juice
a good squeeze of Castile Soap
3/4 water

I put it in a spray bottle and use it with Baby Wipes to wipe off at night, and for general cleaning. Works great on stoves!

Also to prevent rough hands I sleep with lotion gloves.
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Post by mudpuppy000 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:31 pm

I had pretty nasty playa thumb/fingers around my fingernails. I ended up washing them, then putting a lot of neosporin on them and covering them with duct tape. Worked great. :D They healed up after a couple of days.

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Post by Trishntek » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:08 pm

Token wrote:
Trishntek wrote:The alkali lake bed is a base salt. Its pH is up around 9 and has the same affect on skin as bleach.
Can you cite a reference for this data?

Just because something is alkaline or acidic does not make it automatically caustic or corrosive.

Soapy water is also alkali salt with pH of ~ 9 and it has never in my 40 years given me chemical burns on my skin.

Actually, soapy water is more caustic to us than playa dust. Every time I get soapy water in my eyes it burns. Playa dust doesn't.

Playa dust is just a desiccant. All the caustic crap is just a big Playa Chicken.
Token, the pH of playa dust was a guesstimate, I admit that. What I do know is the pH of the Bonneville Salt Flat is greater than 9. When I lived in Syracuse, Utah near the Great Salt Lake. Our soil was 8.5 pH and the water coming into the house was 7.9. Stupid place to try to grow berries and grapes! Anyway,,,, I was simply trying to put a number to the question in order to better understand the cause and solution to playa foot.

If I don't thoroughly rinse soap off my skin and thus long exposure, my skin burns and gets inflamed. I'm sure many people get sweaty feet which moistens the playa dust and causes an unbalanced environment. We all just wanna know how best to regain balance.
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Post by TomServo » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:18 pm

Try not to dry your feet out, to begin with. Which may sound like an absurd strategy, but this will help. A mixture of about 1:3 vinegar/water makes a good foot bath. I learned this from a playa medic, after opening my foot on a buried tent stake. Then of course, lotion probably wouldn't hurt. The vinegar/water thing is good for your hands too..
anything worth doing is worth overdoing..

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Post by jennytoo » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:02 am

chris2010 wrote:I'm usually barefoot, and I plan on giving it a try on the Playa, but I do have back up shoes/sandals just in case... I'm also going to give my Vibram FiveFingers a try out there! They are the next best thing to being barefoot... well almost :)
I've been wondering what I'll be doing this year, too. I've forgone shoes essentially completely for several months at this point - Vibram's for if I really do need protection, slippers to keep people's floors clean, and climbing shoes when rock climbing - otherwise, unshod.

I know my feet are unlikely to be able to handle the playa condition (I tend to get dry skin really bad in very dry climates like ... the Bay Area), so I'm planning to find a pair of moccasins or other soft-soled shoe I can wear. I don't think my VFFs would keep enough playa out to help, and I don't even want to try subjecting my feet to the horrors of standard shoes at this point.

(edit)

In the past, I have done the shoes and (one) fresh pair of socks/day, barefoot at night, and slip on sandals to go to the portapotties, and I've actually managed okay, so far. I'd love to see if by some random weird chance, my feet can handle the playa, but I know much better than to trust that ;-)

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Post by Shotglass75 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:59 pm

Thinking of getting these since I can get a good deal from my buddy but I want to make sure that these would protect me from the elements. I'd rather spend the extra dough on something that would protect my feet than save a few bucks. But if I can save a few bucks, yeah for me. Do you have any other suggestions for good shoes for the Playa? I know everyone is different, but for this virgin it's good to hear opinions.

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Post by Bounce530 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:59 am

mudpuppy000 wrote:I had pretty nasty playa thumb/fingers around my fingernails. I ended up washing them, then putting a lot of neosporin on them and covering them with duct tape. Worked great. :D They healed up after a couple of days.
I'd bet that had more to do with using the hand sanitizer at the porto's a couple times a day.
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playa foot

Post by bill_adams » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:43 pm

Hello fellow burnersl. I have been attending burningman since 1996. I INVENTED the vinegar foot wash because of a case of playa foot that I had many burns ago. Two burns ago, I decided to find a way to neutralize the harsh alkali with something that is has no odor. I searched the internet for a list of weak acids and realized that simple carbonic acid (seltzer water) was perfect for preventing playa foot. Seltzer water is inexpensive, found in any grocery store and is safe enough to drink. My personal way to prevent playa foot is to wash my feet with mild soap and water, rinse with seltzer water, apply a very heavy coat of hand lotion to my feet and put on socks and shoes. It works for me.
Dr. Bronner's soap contains: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut, Organic Palm and Organic Olive Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils, Citric Acid, Vitamin E. I tested the soap with my pH kit and found it to be mildly acidic due to the addition of Citric Acid. The acidity help neutralize the harsh alkali.
I wrote the post you all read in the email list.
I also was interviewed for an article in last year's official playa newspaper.
My college degree was in chemistry.
Lemon juice works to neutralize alkali as does Coca-Cola (phosphoric acid).
I will see you all on the playa.

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Post by cablemonkey » Fri Aug 20, 2010 8:28 am

Pickle juice makes a good footbath with a little extra funk on the side.

Liquid band-aids (cyanoacrylate) can get you back up and running quickly if you do develop cracks.

Prevention is really the key here. I do the squishy-with-lotion-and-socks thing , don't ever let my bare feet touch the playa, and have never had a problem.

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Post by hollywallydoodle » Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:57 am

i had baby-soft feet before i went to bm the first time. i wore slip-on shoes for a couple days singing my 'no playa foot' song. i did baby wipes, lotion and socks each night before bed. two days after i got home i was in the shower, and i felt a sharp pain in my heel---it was a DEEP crack. had some on both heels, and they took 5 months to heal!

my feet haven't been the same since...and i don't wear open shoes on the playa anymore.

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Post by baconqurlyq » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:34 am

I live in Los Angeles, and it gets hot and dry here during the summer. If I go for five days in sandals without tending to my feet every night and morning, my heels get thick callouses that crack. I already have a pretty darn solid regimen that I follow.

I hit my feet, particularly the heels, at least twice a week in the shower with a pumice bar. They use them in salons. They're not pumice stones, they're pumice bars. These are the only things that remove my callouses: http://spedr.com/oprps

I slather my feet twice a day with generic Aquaphor. You can get a huge tub of it at CVS, Walgreens, or whatever your particular local chain of drug store happens to be. It is akin to petroleum jelly, and it provides a protective layer over your skin that keeps in moisture. I'll also be bringing a lot of thick moisturizing cream to use in addition to the Aquaphor.

After applying Aquaphor at night, I put on a pair of sleep socks. Usually the fuzzy kind. As you can imagine, I'll be constantly wearing closed shoes and socks while I'm on the Playa.

I bought a cheap paint tray to use as a foot bath when I was at Home Depot last night. I'll be soaking my feet at least once per day, using a pedicure brush to get all the dust off. That'll be followed by drying, aquaphor, socks, then shoes if I'm heading out. Sock either way, even if hitting bed.

I am so not getting Playa foot!
Popped the playa cherry!

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Post by much2naughty2 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:40 am

hollywallydoodle, I went through years of that crap with cracked heals. Did a number of things that helped, but finally started using the pediegg to file off the rough calous, Seems the only way to get the feet to really heal is to file your heals down to new skin and keep filing them to keep them from building up again. As I said in my first post, lotion them good afterward and wrap them in plastic wrap at night until they are well healed. Keeps your natual moisture in and allows them to heal faster and better.

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baconqurlyq
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Post by baconqurlyq » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:49 am

much2naughty2 wrote:As I said in my first post, lotion them good afterward and wrap them in plastic wrap at night until they are well healed. Keeps your natual moisture in and allows them to heal faster and better.
I don't know if I could sleep with plastic over my feet, but then again, I know some people who think I'm crazy for sleeping in socks.

The Aquaphor really helps to keep the moisture in. I only put on socks afterwards so it doesn't get all over my sheets, but the stuff on my hands does wonders for my skin. I discovered this stuff the last time I got a tattoo because the studio instructed me to use it to heal my tattoo, and it was amazing.
Popped the playa cherry!

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Post by much2naughty2 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:24 pm

baconqurlyq, socks go over the plastic. I'm going to try and get some of the stuf you recomend and bring it as well.

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Post by Isotopia » Sat Aug 21, 2010 3:13 pm

One of the most oft repeated threads on eplaya.

Bag Balm (http://www.bagbalm.com/).

I've done this almost every time I've gone to the playa.

Simple method is this: before you go to sleep take a pair of socks and turn them inside out. Place a little balm in your hand rub well to get you palms covered but not slathered. Take each sock and grab like a rope and pull through your hand making sure that you get most of the surface area of the sock lightly covered. Pat attention to the heel area of the sock. Turn socks right side out and put on. Sleep with them on and assuming you get a half decent nap you'll be OK for the next 12+ hours.

Repeat daily. I'm not a dermatologist so I make no guarantees but I will say that I've never had playa foot after doing it. Nothing even close.

Oh, and if you can't rustle up any balm a cheap alternative is Vaseline. Hell, if you're packing light even a dedicated tube of lip balm for your heels will help insure that things don't get all that bad.

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