It is common to develop stinging blisters each time you head out on ten-mile trails and trek. Blisters can hinder you from finishing your hike and walks. They can be very painful especially when left unattended. You may end up with very painful and unhappy feet which will make the whole trek a disaster. Luckily, there are tips and tricks you can use to prevent your feet from getting blistered. And if, in any case, they get blisters, you also have the best ways of treating them and continuing with your hike.
Blisters can ruin a hike in a beat. Getting the best footwear can help get you a long way in your trek without getting blisters. However, you also want to know the measures you can take to treat them. You know just in case they crop up. So, keep reading.
What causes blisters?
To understand how to treat blisters, you should learn how they come about in the first place.
As you hike, a lot of friction occurs between your feet and your socks and boots. This moves the thick outer layers of skin of your feet exposing the more sensitive inner layers. This causes these two layers to separate causing a vacuum. If the friction is intense, then ten minutes of rubbing is enough to cause fluid to form in this formed space. This is what we call a blister. And moisture from your sweat or water from river crossings can speed up the process.
How do you prevent blisters?
The good news is that preventing blisters from forming in your feet or hands is easy. You only need a few minutes to make some easy maintenance and prep work and you will be on your way in no time. Plus, your feet will feel fine for miles.
So, before you leave, ensure you:
- Look for boots that truly fit you. Here is where the problem starts. If you have boots that do not fit and you have to force your feet in them, then know you are in for a rough hike.
- If you are wearing leather shoes for the hike, then you might want to break them in before you hit the road. You also want to duct tape the rough seams. This will help decrease the amount of friction between your boots and legs.
- Choose your socks wisely. Do not wear cotton socks as this material is known for holding moisture close to the skin which will only speed up the blistering process. Instead, you can check for blister-resistant socks in the store.
- Clip your toenails. This will prevent pressure from forming in front of the boots.
While on the trail:
- Try as much as you can to keep your feet always dry. You can even carry extra pairs of sweat-wicking socks that you can change when the ones you have on get sweaty.
- Rinse your feet whenever you can. Dirty feet blister faster. Plus, they can also increase the likelihood of the blistered spots getting infected.
Should you pop blisters?
Never pop your blisters.
Most people are in the habit of popping blisters that form under their skin thinking it eases the pain. However, doing so will only add to your list of troubles. If you went to the boy or girl scouts, you will know the dangers of popping blisters. For one, you break that part of the skin and leave it open to infection. Plus, you know you will still have to walk on the open wound now. There are, however, situations where the benefits outweigh the risks. For instance, if you are stuck in the wilderness, popping the blisters to relieve the pressure under your feet can help. Only, be careful to prevent the open wounds not to be infected.
For blisters that are just forming, stop walking immediately, sit down, and assess the blisters. You should then wrap the affected area using several layers of duct tape. This will reduce friction in the affected spot. And this will prevent a fully formed blister from forming.
For fully formed blisters, you ought to:
- Stop immediately, find a place to sit and clean the blister and the surrounding skin using soap and water.
- Find and sterilize a pin or knife using alcohol or boiling water and use it pierce the bottom of the blister.
- Gently massage the fluid from the top down and out.
- Afterward, cover the wound using antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- Use a piece of clean clothing or moleskin to wrap a wound the spot and use duct tape to make it stay in position.
- Have this on until you get home or the nearest medical facility.