by Diane Spicer
Blister treatment for hikers is serious business.
Your feet are your ticket onto the trail.
And back home again
If you're in pain from a hiking blister on your foot, you're not hiking.
Read this for blister prevention strategies, which is the smartest approach to guarding your trail time.
Read on to discover treatment approaches once you've got a hiking blister, and learn whether or not to pop that painful bubble.
So you've developed a blister on your toe from all that walking.
Don't be the hiker who moans in pain and wishes for blister treatment supplies.
Instead, be the hiker who whips out a well stocked blister treatment kit, including equipment to drain a blister and to apply an ointment in a hygiene manner.
Your blister treatment supplies should be kept together in a water repellent, lightweight but durable bag.
A blister kit also requires lightweight scissors and tweezers, although these might already be in your simple first aid kit.
Also in your bag should be some sort of material to prevent further friction, along with something to deal with discomfort.
Moleskin is a tried and true approach to blister treatment because it's easy to apply.
To step things up a notch in terms of combating blister pain, try this system of GlacierGel dressings:
And to combine the magic of Glacier Gel with the physical barrier of moleskin, get this kit.
There are pros and cons to popping a blister.
The short story:
As you ponder whether or not to pop your hiking blister, consider:
Once you commit to popping it, be sure you're clean about it in order to reduce risk of infection.
If your immune system is in question due to age, medical conditions, or prescription medications, consider applying a topical antibiotic along the edge of the blister and across its diameter.
Trail dirt can have any number of microbes lurking within.
Don't ignore signs of infection such as swelling, pain, red streaks leading away from the blister, pus or warm skin around the blistered area.
Just so you know, the devilish triad of blister formation is heat - friction - moisture.
Blisters develop from inattention and the wrong stuff on your feet.
If you've taken the blister prevention tips to heart, you've done everything you can to deprive this triad of its evil intention of separating layers of your skin:
... don't ignore hot spots on your feet.
Why treat a blister when you can prevent it?
A few trail tips:
Stop immediately if you sense pressure, heat or discomfort anywhere on your feet.
Reduce friction on your hot spots with sock adjustments.
If your toes feel extremely hot, squashed or uncomfortable, try loosening your laces.
If you're wearing two pairs of socks, take one of them off to see if that helps.
If your heel is developing a red, hot area, get moleskin or duct tape on it right away before it deepens.
Sometimes it's your trail buddies, urging you to keep going no matter what.
Your blisters will slow down everyone sooner or later if they are not dealt with pro-actively (and protectively).
So step off the trail, get out your treatment kit, and take care of your precious feet.
Tell 'em Hiking For Her said so!
And use these hiking foot care tips to make sure your feet stay in top shape all season long.
Best Blister Treatment Tips
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Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer.
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