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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hiking Tips: Blister Management


Blisters and Duct Tape
Image by argylejargon via Flickr
A blister while backpacking or hiking can ruin your whole day. So, take precautions first. Here are some tips for managing blisters.
1. Make sure your footwear fits properly and is broken in before embarking on a hiking or backpacking trip of any length. One of the main causes of blisters is boots or shoes that are not properly broken in.
2. Wear the right sock combination. Next to your skin, wear polypropelene liner socks (or other socks with wicking properties) and a pair of thicker socks to cushion your feet. The liner socks will keep your skin dry by wicking away sweat. Also, the friction will take place between the two pairs of socks and not between a pair of socks and your tender skin.
3. The minute you feel a hot spot, stop and do something about it. Don’t wait until it turns into a blister. Cover the spot generously with duct tape, moleskin or 2nd Skin.
4. Apply the protectors mentioned in number 3 to areas of your feet where you know you are prone to getting blisters even before you start hiking.
5. Puncture and drain a developed blister at the base with a sterilized knife blade, razor blade or needle. Apply anitbacterial ointment and cover the area with moleskin, 2nd Skin or duct tape.
6. If the pain persists, consider surrounding the affected area with a doughnut of Molefoam or duct tape to keep your sock away from the blister and provide added protection.
Hike healthy. Hike Happy.
by Richard Davidian, Ph.D.

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