Blisters are the bane of a hiker's life. Even a well-fitted, high-end pair of hiking boots can go bad and cause you issues...usually when you are as far from civilization as it is possible to be!
Luckily, this problem is easy to address with Leukotape taping, a high tensile strength adhesive bandage that can be used, even if you already carry a blister on your skin.
But first, it's essential we discuss the different phases of blisters as they each require different management.
Understanding Blisters in Runners and Hikers
Phase 1 of blistering is when a hot spot starts forming. This is usually when you start noticing signs of friction.
While you are hiking, something as simple as a slight fold sock could cause a hot spot to form. This then leads to Phase 2; a full-blown, debilitating blister.
Phase 2 actually requires draining and treating the blister, so your best bet is to take action before it gets to this point.
As soon as you feel a hotspot when you're out hiking, you need to create a barrier to prevent the friction from worsening.
Many hikers use medical taping to wrap their hot spots with adhesive products like duct tape or moleskin.
However, these are rarely a good option in the wet, sweaty inside of your shoe. Runners and hikers just can't seem to make the alternative bandage options stick under hot and humid conditions.
And then there's good old Leukotape P. The final and best gear for preventing blisters.
What Is Leukotape P?
You have probably seen it on many runners and other athletes over the years. But today, seasoned hikers have jumped on the bandwagon.
Leukotape is a breathable adhesive sports tape designed to wrap muscles to support and provide stability to injured muscles and joints.
However, it contains a magic ingredient that most other tapes don't
Zinc Oxide Adhesive Sports Tape to the Rescue
Leukotape combines the support of surgical tape with the healing properties of zinc oxide.
It has a long history of use as sun protection, but this is also the same stuff that is used in diaper rash cream and burn ointment.
So it goes far beyond just blister prevention.
What Are the Benefits of Using Leukotape?
Aside from its ability to treat minor skin irritations, Leukotape adhesive bandage strips are excellent for a handful of reasons, including:
Leukotape protects your skin's surface (or rather the surface of your feet) from the effects of constant rubbing. It also provides thermal insulation and can help reduce friction.
Unlike duct tape or moleskin, Leukotape is made from 100% cotton. It's porous and smooth, allowing your skin to breathe. It also doesn't leave a sticky residue like most other bandages.
Thanks to its breathability, it is also easy to use a strip or two to stretch and cover a wide surface area to ensure your feet will be protected during your hiking trip.
Leukotape was made with stretch in mind as is flexible, so it conforms to the shape of your foot.
You can use it in hot or cold conditions, and since it'll adhere reliably even under strain or if your feet and socks are super wet or sweaty, it's perfect for wet condition use too.
Many sports tape brands are crazy expensive, but not Leukotape.
You can purchase it at just about any drug store, and because it can last a few days, it's also a cost-effective bit of gear for preventing and treating blisters.
Uses For Leukotape
Although we like using it to prevent blistering during a hike and trail running, you should carry a roll of Leukotape when backpacking for the following reasons:
As you know by now, Leukotape is great for blisters prevention because it acts as a second layer of skin that could reduce friction caused by socks, seams, or even a pebble in your shoes.
If you already have a blister, you can use Leukotape to stop it from getting worse and act as a barrier to nasty germs and bacteria while you are hiking or ultralight running.
It is also friendly on the skin and won't irritate open wounds.
If you injure yourself on the trail while hiking, a roll of Leukotape can save the day. Taping the injured joints, ligaments, or muscles will help prevent any further damage.
Using Leukotape to Prevent Blisters
- Start by ensuring your feet are clean and dry. You can even apply a layer of benzoin tincture to dry things out even more and ensure the tape has as much sticking power as possible.
- Next, remove some strips (you can just tear it off, no scissors required) of Leukotape from the cover roll and apply them over the ball of your foot, heel, and other susceptible areas. Make sure you're not forming any creases or leaving any gaps in the areas you're covering. You don't want to circle the foot entirely because you don't want to restrict blood flow.
- As you tape your foot, bend it while pointing your toes upwards and start working the cover roll at the heel of your foot, working your way up to just before your toes. Use smaller strips for your toes and finish it all off with long strips from the inside of your foot to the outside.
Using Leukotape to Treat Blisters
- If your blister is painful and looks like it's going to burst, you should take care of that issue before taping the area.
- To do this, use a sterile needle or pin and make a few holes in the blister.
- Next, use gauze or nitrile gloves to push out the fluid.
- Use scissors to cut or tear a strip of the Leukotape from the roll. Apply the tape directly to the site of the blister to prevent bacteria and germs from getting into the open wound.
- Tape the remaining susceptible areas with the bandage as described in the preventative measures.
How do you get Leukotape off?
It's not uncommon for your skin to feel sticky when removing sports tape, but there are a few tried and trusted methods to the sticky residue in one easy go.
Just apply, allow it to soak for a while, and scrub. You can try using any one of the following:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Cooking Oil
- Baby Oil
- Mineral Oil
- Fat-Based Body Lotion
- Medical Adhesive Remover
How long can you wear Leukotape?
Even though Leukotape can be left in place for days at a time, your feet really need to breathe for your skin to stay healthy.
This adhesive tape is great, but don't leave the tape on for more than 18 hours at a time without giving your foot some breathing time. You can use the Leukotape during the day, but don't leave hot spots covered overnight.
Does Leukotape Contain Latex?
We've stumbled across a few reviews across a range of posts and checked out the official website to confirm that Leukotape contains latex.
If you're allergic to latex, it's best to patch test a small area of skin with a strip before wrapping your feet and putting your shoes on.
Wrapping It Up
Leukotape P is a high-strength, rigid zinc oxide tape ideal for backpacking and trail running.
Even though this sports tape isn't specifically marketed as a solution for blister prevention or treatment, it's one of the hiking world's insider secrets.
Now that we've shared our tips on the matter, are you ready to tape Leukotape to those hotspots to prevent your socks, shoes, or sweat from ruining your hike?
- 1 Understanding Blisters in Runners and Hikers
- 2 What Is Leukotape P?
- 3 What Are the Benefits of Using Leukotape?
- 4 Uses For Leukotape
- 5 Using Leukotape to Prevent Blisters
- 6 Using Leukotape to Treat Blisters
- 7 How do you get Leukotape off?
- 8 How long can you wear Leukotape?
- 9 Does Leukotape Contain Latex?
- 10 Wrapping It Up