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Blister Treatment
For Hikers

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, you're not hiking.

  • Or hiking in a sub-optimal hobble.

Read this for prevention strategies, which is the smartest approach to guarding your trail time.

Read on to discover treatment approaches, and whether or not to pop that painful bubble.

Treatment of a blister
requires a little planning

Don't be the hiker who moans in pain and wishes for blister treatment supplies.

Instead, be the hiker who whips out a blister treatment kit.

The devilish triad of blister formation is heat - friction - moisture.

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:

Yellow glacier lilies growing up through the snow

Blister treatment supplies to carry

But alas!

Now that you're in pain, it's time to deploy your blister treatment kit.

Your treatment supplies should be kept together in a water repellent lightweight but durable bag.

  • Flimsy plastic bags won't cut it, because you want these materials to stay clean and dry.

The kit requires lightweight scissors and tweezers, although these might already be in your simple first aid kit.

If not, stash them in this 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.

  • Note that moleskin provides a way to cut down on the rubbing from your boots, so take the time to carefully craft your custom shaped moleskin.

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.

  • It includes alcohol prep pads and antiseptic towelettes to ward off infection from trail dirt.
  • These items should be in your kit, regardless of which approach you go with.

To pop a blister, or not?

There are pros and cons to popping a blister.

The short story:

  • If you're on a short hike, don't.
  • If you're out for several more days, maybe you should.

As you ponder whether or not to pop your hiking blister, consider:

  • Will popping it increase the pain level? (for a large blister, it might)
  • Will popping it set me up for an infection? (if you're a few days into a long backpacking trip, it might)

If you're going to pop it...

Once you commit to popping it, be sure you're clean about it.

  • Wash or sanitize your hands, and the blistered area, before you begin.
  • Have all of your supplies handy so you're not digging around in your kit.
  • Put the blistered foot on a clean surface such as an unused hiking shirt.
  • Act quickly and methodically to decrease the amount of time the blister is exposed to the air (which decreases the pain level).

Consider applying a topical antibiotic. Trail dirt can have any number of microbes lurking within.

But whatever you do...

...don't ignore hot spots on your feet.

Stop immediately if you sense pressure, heat or discomfort anywhere on your feet.

  • If your toes feel extremely hot, squashed or uncomfortable, try loosening your laces. Consider a different boot lacing strategy.
  • If you're wearing two pairs of socks, take one of them off to see if that helps.
  • If your heel is developing a blister, get moleskin on the area right away. You do NOT want to hike back to the trail head in pain, so take the time to do a good job preventing additional friction.

Feeling pressured by your trail buddies to keep going no matter what?

Too bad!

Your blisters will slow down everyone 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!

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