Hiking blister care is essential to avoid pain and discomfort on the trails.
Most heel blisters are caused by constant rubbing or friction of the shoes and socks against the skin. By following the proper tips for blisters it is possible to protect and treat them after forming to avoid more serious issues such as an infection.
Tips for Prevent Blisters
- Make sure your hiking boots fit and are well worn in before you go on a hike. Friction is most noticed in the footwear that doesn’t fit well. Try a variety of brands and make sure to wear them in before walking on the most difficult terrain on the hiking trails. Plus, wear proper socks or aftermarket insoles to help achieve the preferred fit.
- Minimize moisture and heat. Keeping the feet dry while out on the trails is certain to help prevent the blisters forming. This is possible by removing the boots and socks each time you stop for a short break. Leaving the feet exposed to the fresh air will soon reduce the build-up of moisture or heat.
- Pack extra pairs of socks. For those hikers that are more inclined to get the sweaty feet even after a short distance into a day-hike, it can benefit to change into a new set. Also, if possible, wash the feet in a creek or river and fully dry before putting on the fresh socks.
Tips To Treat Blisters
Here are five tips for blisters to minimize the pain and discomfort while out hiking:
The first action to take on noticing the blister is to leave it alone or prick it. A basic rule is to leave the painless, small blisters, while the more painful, large blister on the feet can be pricked.
For the small blister that doesn’t make it easy to drain, it usually benefits to apply a bandage while active throughout the day, and at night leave the foot exposed to the air to help speed up the healing process.
For the blister that is drained, it is essential to sterilize the area. Plus, the pin or similar tool used to burst the blister should be sterilized.
Use a solution like rubbing alcohol on both the tool and skin to maintain the clean environment.
Pierce the skin
Use a needle or pin to pierce the skin with the needle, which is best pushed into the side of the formed blister.
Once the skin is pierced, push down gently on the blister to help drain the built-up liquid inside. Plus, leave the skin in place over the blister and don’t be tempted to pick it off.
Get the first-aid box and apply a germ-fighting solution or ointment like Neosporin to the affected area of the foot.
Once the blister is drained and ointment applied, cover the area with a gauze pad or adhesive band. Make sure the full area of damaged skin is covered and the pad is secure in place.
Replace the protection as and when required, such as noticing fluid still draining or after showering. Plus, remove the pad in the evenings when resting up to let the blister breathe and promote faster healing.
There is nothing like prevention for a comfortable hike. So make sure you take all precautions to avoid them wherever possible.
Good boots, that fit and are well worn in with good quality wicking socks are an absolute must.
If you do get blisters, do not just ignore it and “tough it out”. Treat them, keep them clean and protected or it can develop into something very nasty.