Blister Prevention & Care

  • Blisters happen when there is excessive friction between your skin and somewhere inside your boot.
    • What increases friction?
      • Moisture- like from your sweat, or wet socks/shoes from your environment
      • Pressure points- if your boots are too tight in one area, or your socks are wrinkled and unevenly rubbing against your boot
  • To prevent blisters, you will want to reduce friction!
    • This means you should wear a moisture-wicking, well fitted sock
      • We like merino wool material, especially for colder weather hikes.  This material keeps you warm but it is still breathable
      • Avoid cotton!  Cotton retains moisture
    • Some folks will even wear a sock liner- this is a very thin sock that is worn underneath your actual hiking sock- this can help wick away even more moisture
      • I love this FoxRiver brand from Amazon
    • If you think you’ll be in an area that will involve a lot of water crossings or there is a lot of rain in the forecast, it may be helpful to bring an extra pair of dry socks to change into if needed
    • To reduce pressure points, you’ll need to be wearing the right boots/shoes that fit your feet!
      • We recommend getting fit for hiking boots and trail shoes in person at a local shoe store or outdoor recreation store that sells hiking boots (like REI) – this will ensure the right type of fit for your feet, which is very individualized
        • Usually folks will size up (a half size or one full size) to account for natural swelling of your feet during long hikes, and/or thick socks that you may pair with your boots
        • Also make sure you break in your boots before taking them on a long, strenuous hike!
  • Now I have a blister- what do I do?
    • As soon as you start to notice a hot spot that may turn into a blister, it’s best to start to take care of it immediately, before it gets worse!
    • I like to cover the hot spot with a padded blister bandage or blister cushion – I love this Compeed brand, which you can find in most drugstores and on Amazon – just stick it right on top of the blister, ensuring the bandage/cushion is larger than the blister so that you cover it entirely
    • You can also DIY it with moleskin – cut a small piece of moleskin that is slightly larger than your blister, cut a hole in the center so its like a donut, centering the blister in the middle.  Then tape this to your skin using the small roll of paper tape or medical tape from your first aid kit
  • Do I drain it?
    • Ideally, you should not drain your blister, because once the blister is opened, the fluid within the blister will be released which can increase the risk of infection
    • However, if you do drain it, or it pops on its own, treat it as you would any other wound: clean the area, apply antibiotic ointment, cover it with a blister pad/cushion, and even the donut hole moleskin coverage to prevent further irritation
    • Check out what we pack in our first aid kit!

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