HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT BLISTERS
To begin with, what causes a blister? A blister is a small pocket of fluid on the skin and is usually in response to an injury, friction or heat. Therefore, blisters are common on feet. For example, wearing new footwear (whether hiking or just regular shoes) need to be ‘broken in.’
Tip 1. Trim the length of toenails including down the sides. File off any flanges or sharp nail.
Tip 2. Wear good quality woollen socks as they wick away moisture and dry quickly. Choose soft material with no seams.
Tip 3. Avoid cottom socks as they don’t allow your feet to breathe and aren’t great when they get wet.
Tip 4. Wear one thin pair and one thick pair of socks to reduce chaffing and sweating.
Tip 5.Taping your feet prior to walking is an excellent preventative method.
Tip 6. Tie your laces firmly. Your toes shouldn’t touch the front of your boot and your heel should fit snugly in the rear.
Tip 7. Break in your footwear by going on short and long walks in both wet and dry conditions.
Tip 8. If you feel a hot spot, STOP. Change socks immediately. Check if a bandaid needs to be applied. Generally, you’ll need to cover the hot spot before continuing.
Tip 9. If the hot spot persists. STOP. Apply blister treatment such as 2nd skin, moleskin, bandaid or leukoplast tape.
Tip 10. Use moleskin or other bandage to create a raised ring around the blister. Then secure with tape.
Tip 11.”2nd skin” is a brand of bandage that cushions the blister preventing further chafing. Ideal for hot spots.
Tip 12. Another method for minor blisters is a bandaid with tape around the outside.
Tip 13. Some tape may give you a rash. Remove immediately and replace with a different brand. In fact, this picture shows a severe reaction to zinc that was permeated into the tape.
Tip 14. Treat fingers as you would feet. Keep them clean and dry. Of course, change dressing regularly.
Tip 15. Should you pop a blister? Generally no. However, if it’s causing you pain, it’s best to pop and drain the blister.
Tip 16. How to pop a blister …. disinfect the blister area. Using a sterilised needle, make a small hole at the side and allow the liquid to drain. Apply antiseptic ointment. Put bandage over blister. Keep clean and dry.
Tip 17. To illustrate another method, you can pierce the blister with a needle and thread. Pull needle through and leave thread in blister. The thread absorbs the blister moisture. Subsequently, bandage and check every 24 hours. Of course, remove after 2 – 5 days.
Tip 18. Moleskin is a great product to use to prevent a blsiter. Often comes in handy precut sizes. Similarly, you can buy in a large square and cut to sizes you need.
Tip 19. There are many brands of first aid tape available.
Tip 20. Above all, expose your blisters to fresh air and sunshine when possible. All aids in the healing process.
In summary, caring for your feet is essential. If you get a blister and can’t walk, your adventure will have to stop until it heals.
Also, if you’d like to see a video of these tips, please click here.
In addition, here is another good post on sun protection when bushwalking / hiking here.