120th trains cadre on proper boot fitting
September 27, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- After their arrival on Fort Jackson, new Soldiers are fitted for an Army uniform and corresponding combat boots.
Finding the right fit for footwear is an important component in making sure the Soldier is able to train at maximum capacity.
Col. Michael Neary, chief of podiatry at Army Community Hospital at West Point, N.Y., visited the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) Monday to talk about his experiences with fitting boots for cadets at the U.S. Military Academy.
Neary emphasized the need to measure feet for the right fit both for boots as well as running shoes.
"People don't always know what a good boot fit should feel like," he said.
He said Soldiers frequently think if a boot or shoe doesn't feel like it fits, they need a bigger size, but often they need a wider boot.
Research done as far back as 1912 supports the finding that correct fitting of boots has a significant impact on injury reduction during long road marches.
The right fit is especially important for Soldiers in Basic Combat Training who are not yet accustomed to the workouts.
According to various studies, between 48 and 77 percent of Soldiers in Basic Combat Training develop blisters. Between 2.5 and 5 percent of those affected require hospitalization because of associated complications.
Neary said that blisters have serious consequences on a Soldier's readiness. They reduce the Soldier's mobility in the field, lessen his or her concentration and affect critical decision-making skills.
They may also lead to musculoskeletal overuse injuries, which are common in basic training, Neary said. He said that Soldiers with foot blisters have an 85-percent chance of developing such injuries.
During his presentation, Neary exchanged ideas with cadre from the 120th and employees in the Clothing Initial Issue Point.
Lt. Col. Vincent Valley, 120th commander, said the exchange of information between Neary and the 120th cadre was invaluable education in setting up Soldiers for success.
"Having a set way that we fit the boots and that we fit the shoes -- it just underscores the importance of getting it right the first time," Valley said. "Because if we don't, we're going to see the Soldier again come back to us in the form of a rehab, transfer into the Fitness Training Company, or -- God forbid -- if the person gets so injured, he or she could potentially come back here as a person separating through our (holding unit)."