Blissful boots beat back blisters!
Blisters, the enemy of every bushwalker. Some people get them all the time, some people never, but most of us will occasionally get them – but they don’t have to be the end of the world (or at least the walk).
So what are blisters? Blisters are small pockets of body fluid within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing i.e friction. Blister prevention comes down to two things: paying attention to your feet with good preparation, and reducing friction.
Here are a few things to consider for blister prevention:
Do your boots fit? If they don’t try changing out insoles, lacing one set of holes further up, getting them stretched etc until they feel right. Remember in hot weather your feet swell, so allow for this in preparing your boots.
Bring a thick moisturiser or vaseline and use it both in the morning just before you put your socks on and at night when you’ve finished hiking (especially between the toes). Use this time to check in with your feet and give them a nice rub — they worked hard for you!
Wear two pairs of socks or a product such a Wrightsocks which has a liner built in. I cannot stress how much of a difference this makes, as the thin outer sock rubs against the inner, rather than your foot rubbing against the boot.
If you do get a blister, cover it early with protective tape such as Rock tape, Elastoplast, Hiker’s Wool or Compeed. Address hot spots right away and they’ll have the best chance of healing quickly.
Do not puncture a blister unless it is large, painful, or likely to be further irritated. The fluid-filled blister keeps the underlying skin clean, which prevents infection and promotes healing. But if you need to drain a blister do the following:
- Wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.
- Swab the blister with iodine.
- Sterilise a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
- Use the needle to puncture the blister …
- Apply an ointment such as petroleum jelly to the blister and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage.
- Cover it was a band aid and get back on the track!