How To Deal With Blisters When Hiking
Blisters can turn an enjoyable hike into torture in short order. There’s nothing worse than hiking into a wonderful secluded spot in the woods, only to be faced with hiking back out with feet that are suffering from the pain of blisters.
Blisters are caused by the friction that occurs when your skin rubs against your sock or your boot. Even the top quality footwear will allow some slippage of your feet which can lead to blisters. And if you’re still working in a new pair of boots the problem can be even worse.
Good socks are one of the most important things for avoiding blisters. Cotton, silk and wool are the traditional materials but there are a lot more choices these days, including Lycra, polyester and combinations of more than one. These new materials can make a big difference.
Choosing the right hiking boots will also go a long way towards avoiding blisters. You want to look for a pair that is comfortable right from the outset. It’s true that stiff boots will loosen a bit when broken in, but if they are stiff and uncomfortable when you first get them they probably will stay more or less the same.
If you have reason to take off your boots during your hike, say to drip your feet in lake or creek, use proper care when putting them back on. Make sure you dry your feet first and double-check that there is no gravel or “bunching” in your socks before you lace up.
If it’s too late to avoid a blister, there are several things you can do. When you first feel one start, remove your boot and check your foot. Clean the area and disinfect the area with alcohol or anti-bacterial cream (you did bring some, right?)
Pierce the blister horizontally near its base with a sterilized needle. Squeeze the fluid out gently but don’t remove the skin covering the blister. Cover the area with a bandaid or moleskin, which is a type of artificial skin that is applied much like a bandaid.
This will get you through until you are able to do a more thorough job of treating the blister.
Scot Miller writes about hiking safety for the Fitness Breeze website. For more helpful tips and advice for hikers, visit hiking.fitnessbreeze.com