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Blister Treatment and Prevention for Long Hikes

Last updated January 12, 2022| Hiking

One of the most frequent difficulties hikers and backpackers suffer from are blisters. No matter what size they are of, they can extremely be painful and irritating. We have made this guide to help teach you how to prevent blisters completely, to know how to treat them, and to provide general foot care tips to keep your feet happy and healthy on the trail. 

What causes blisters? 

Before the main point that how to cure and prevent bristles you really need to know that what even causes these bristles. From many researches, it is taken out that pressure, heat, and moisture are the main factors that causes blisters to form on your feet while you hike. By learning to minimize these catalysts. This post will teach you exactly what to do to handle the situation, minimize pain, and start down the path to healing, instead of letting blister problems worsen.

Trail Runners vs. Boots 

Most of us always wear trail runners for hiking and backpacking for the problems like bristles. To summarize, trail runners are far more comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and quick drying than boots. There are, though, some situations when boots can come in hold. So these are better to be worn to prevent bristles.

How to Prevent Blisters 

The most crucial element to stay blister-free is to make sure your shoes fit you well. Footwear that fits too tightly will obviously generate pressure that will create blisters, so you should go for a relaxed fit.

Appropriate Footwear Fit 

A little extra space in your shoe mainly in the toe box is a good idea, but you do not want your feet to be slipping and sliding too, so you need to make sure that your shoes fit just right. A good pair of pads can really support if your feet are between sizes or need extra support as well.

Feet Grow on Lengthy Routes

If you are hiking in a long-distance, you must keep in mind that your preferences may change, and your feet may flatten or widen as you walk in some serious miles. We do not suggest you buy all of your shoes at once for a thru-hike since you may want to upsize towards the tail end of your journey. Some people say that that their feet grew by almost 2 sizes over her 2 thru-hikes. 

Break in New Footwear (Especially Boots)

If you are planning to wear brand new shoes (especially boots) on a trip or hiking, you must make sure to break them in by wearing them around your house before you wear them into the backcountry. New boots can be very tough and if you find the areas of pressure or friction, you will want to address those from the comfort of your own home and adjust them as needed.

Your old and used footwear is far more comfortable and ultimately, your shoes will conform to your feet, but make sure old boots still have good tread on the sole and cushion or support on the inside. Sadly, no shoes or boots last forever.

Keep Feet Clean

Keeping your feet as clean as possible will help decrease irritation that is caused by dirt and rubble while it also reducing the chances of already born blisters becoming contaminated. Grab all the chances to wash your feet in cool flowing water and clean them in camp at the end of the day.

After long days of hiking and wet feet if it rains, it is always essential to keep your feet clean and dry during the course of the night to allow your skin to recover.

Read More: What is the Difference between Hiking & Trekking

Change Your Socks

It is sensible to bring at least 2 pairs of hiking socks so you can swap over them out as needed and rinse dry another pair for later on usage. You can keep a large safety pin attached to the back your packs to ensure that your socks and bandanas get air dried while you are on the move.

You should also pack a pair of comfy warm socks and reserve them for wearing in your sleeping bags at night. Keeping your feet in comparatively clean socks will help keep your feet stronger, more comfortable, and blister-free.

Good Socks

Good quality socks are basic for keeping your feet dry and cool on the path. Fleece and manufactured filaments are best for wicking sweat away from your skin, and they dry rapidly after water intersections as well. Cotton ought to be evaded since it performs inadequately and can prompt rankles. Great climbing socks should fit cozily without wrinkling to limit erosion. Wearing ragged liner socks under another pair of socks is a decent method to make a twofold layer framework for the individuals who are extra vulnerable to rankles. What is more, a few climbers discover toe socks to be useful, especially in forestalling rankles between the toes.

Adjust Your Laces

Taking out the time to modify your shoelaces for different environment is well worth a pause to keep your feet in good shape. Most of the time, people keep their shoes laced loosely to allow their feet to swell and be comfortable. But on long sharp slopes, they tighten their laces at the instep (where ankle meets foot) to prevent their toes from hitting the fronts of our shoes.

Get Some Airtime

Taking off your shoes and socks to air out your feet throughout the trail while resting feels good and can go a long way for avoiding blisters. For Sure, it may take a little more time, but it’s well worth the effort to let your skin breathe and give your socks a chance to dry out.

Our general rule is that if we are taking a break for 15 minutes or longer, the shoes come off. Improving your legs and feet by propping them up with your pack can also reduce swelling and speed the recovery of your lower body. This is also an excellent opportunity to throw out any trash that got into your shoes and to check your feet for hot spots.

How to Treat Blisters

Sometimes, no matter how good you try to be with prevention, you still end up with getting a blister. But if you have the right first-aid necessities with you and know how to use them, you can still be able to manage the situation and continue to hike without pain or worry.

  • CLEAN your hands and the blistered section with soap and water or an alcohol/antiseptic wipe.
  • STERILIZE your safety pin, sewing needle, scalpel blade, or small knife with an alcohol wipe, boiling water, or flame. Always try to keep the ‘roof’ or blister top in place to prevent infection and keep the more delicate skin underneath covered.
  • PIERCE the blister from the bottom with the pin, needle, or blade, slightly lengthening the hole by gently moving your tool side to side (a pinhole will close up too quickly).
  • DRAIN the fluid from the blister by carefully massaging it down and out. If you have a needle with an eye, you can pierce the blister from top to bottom, threading it with a short segment of sterilized floss or thread to create a wick that allows drainage to continue as you hike. We keep a tiny spool of braided fishing line and a big eye needle in our blister kit for this purpose as well as emergency repairs.
  • COVER the blister with antibiotic cream to prevent infection.
  • PAD around the blister with a piece of Moleskin or Mole foam cut into a ring shape. The hole in the center should be a little larger than the blister. 
  • BANDAGE the blister with a piece of gauze, an adhesive Band-Aid or Moleskin
  • TAPE over the blister and surrounding area with a larger piece of duct or KT tape

Should you pop blisters?

So, the most asked question is if you should pop your bristles or not? Well, if you grew up in Boy or Girl Scouts, you may have learned not to pop blisters, and that doing so could open you up to disease by creating a break in your skin. That is technically true, but sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks. If you are deep into the wilderness and not willing to cancel your trip, carefully draining your blister may be your only option to get rid of it.

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