A Safety Kit for the Barefoot Runner

by Editor on December 5, 2011

Last summer I was running barefoot on a beach in Sozopol, Bulgaria, enjoying the early morning August sun, the lapping of waves on the beach, the cool breeze in my hair, the soft crunch of sand between my toes—you know, all the reasons we love to take our shoes off at the beach—when I stepped on a rock hidden just under the sand and sliced the better part of my big toe pad off.

I am a relative newcomer to barefoot running and the barefoot lifestyle, in general, but like a lot of people that are relatively new to barefoot running, I quickly became adept at spotting debris and avoiding it. Sharp rocks, broken glass, rusty nails, and freshly discarded chewing gum are just some of the dangers I have managed to avoid. But the fact of the matter remains that if you are choosing to go barefoot, eventually, you are going to receive an unexpected cut or abrasion. This is nothing to be worried about.

Life is full of dangers, both big and small, and by running barefoot you are exposing yourself to some of the smaller dangers while avoiding some of the bigger ones.

I think of this as trading in the possibility of knee surgery, bunions, Athlete’s Foot, and various back problems for a relatively minor cut. This is a trade I would make any day of the week.

Still, you don’t want to let a minor cut become a major problem. Thus, I encourage all of you to be prepared with a few simple things that could help out in a pinch (or a cut, for that matter):

  1. Gauze
  2. Tape
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide
  4. Tweezers

These materials are lightweight and can easily be fastened to a belt or put in a pocket. If you step on a rock or other sharp object that punctures the skin, use the tweezers to clean out any dirt, grit or other debris. Douse the wound with a bit of Hydrogen Peroxide to disinfect and carefully wrap with the gauze and tape.

Of course, as most doctors and physicians recommend, you should also make sure you have an up-to-date tetanus shot!

Hopefully, you won’t need these, but as my mom always told me, better safe than sorry. I know I wasn’t sorry while spending the morning, tweezers in hand, removing bits of sand from my cut toe. I was happy I was prepared with my emergency kit. I could relax and enjoy the rest of the morning on the beach, toe elevated toward the sun.

Just four days later, I was running again, no shoes added.

~Lucas Peters

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Ariele M. Huff December 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Great article and good suggestions. I also use iodine on open wounds. It really works well, esp if the cut is around a finger or toe nail.
thanks again for the suggestions.

Rachelle December 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Thanks! Great suggestion.

Lucas December 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Iodine is great, too!!! Thanks for the comment!!!

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