Hiking shoe

The Book of Blister, No Thanks To My Sister

Everyone’s had a blister at some point, but if your sister’s ever dragged you on an unexpected six-hour jaunt, and you wore a hole in your skin half way through, you’ll become an evangelist for prevention I can assure you.

Here we go.

Chapter 1
Blister Prevention

Buy Big Shoes

Your feet expand when you walk just as they do an airplane – and they’ll start to rub against your shoes. Maybe only a half size larger will do it. It is quite a personal thing, however you may also need room for…

Wear Two Pairs of Socks

Thin socks or ‘liners’ with thicker socks on top. The socks will rub and not your feet. You can also buy socks which have ‘Teflon’ woven into the fabric. And whatever kind you wear, be sure to remove any creases.

Plastering & Taping

If you’re prone to blisters then address the area before you set off.

Fixomull is a medical tape that’s used in operating theatres to dress wounds, and is very effective in blister prevention. Moleskin tape is sticky on one side, soft and fuzzy on the other – also very useful.

Compeed and Band-Aid blister pads are rubbery, waterproof plasters that also contain silver, which helps in the healing process too.

AusWalk Tip – Put some hiker’s wool into your socks (soft lamb’s wool which reduces friction) and you’ll reduce the chance of blisters too.

Keep ‘em Dry

Moisture wicking socks are a good start, as well as keeping your feet out of streams and rivers. Sprinkling talcum powder or corn starch into your socks helps too.

AusWalk Tip – If you slip off a stepping stone crossing a creek, it’s a good idea to change your socks, so make sure you bring some spares.

Toughen Up

The more you walk the more your feet will get used to it. So if you’re planning a week’s excursion, do a series of weekend walks beforehand. And as your feet toughen up, so will you!

AusWalk Tip – Don’t forget to moisturise your calluses though, you don’t want them cracking.Chill Out

Reduce the swelling now and again by taking a load off, taking your boots off, and putting your feet up!

Enjoy looking at the sky and watching the clouds go by, feel the earth in your hands and appreciate how lucky you are to be alive.

Keep Irritants Out

Almost goes without saying really, but if you keep dirt and sand out your shoes, there’s less to rub.

Blister free feet are key to any hike


Chapter 2
Hotspot Treatment

Even if you’ve never heard the expression before, you know what a ‘hotspot’ is don’t you? The important thing is not to wait. As soon as you feel something, stop, and address it straight away. Here’s what you can do:

Lubricate

Engage the laws of physics by adding a lubricant to the picture, or, your feet, as it were. I’ve used Vaseline in the past, only in small areas, and it’s helped to prevent a mild hotspot from turning into a painful blister. It can attract dirt if you lather it on profusely though, so beware.

Other lubricants are available, and some specifically for runners and hikers.

Plastering & Taping

If you haven’t already taped your feet, now’s the time.

See notes above on what’s effective, and if you really want to make sure a blister pad with Fixomull over the top, and you’re setting yourself up nicely.

Blister free feet on a hike


Chapter 3

Blister First Aid

Sometimes it’ll just happen, despite your best intentions.

Here’s what to do.

Plastering & Taping

As above, if you haven’t done so already.

Don’t burst them!

The skin over the top prevents infection from getting in, which will slow the healing process. Most blisters will heal in three to seven days, so all you have to do is make it home, and take it easy for a while.

If it turns yellow or green, time to visit the Doctor.

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There it is folks. The Book of Blister, no thanks to my sister.

Although that’s only my experience.

Do you have any tips? Suggestions? Comment below with your questions or call us on +61 3 9597 9767.

Most hikers have a few up their sleeve, or in their boots 😀

Let us know below if you feel like sharing 😉

Cheers!

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Related Posts:
How to Choose the Right Footwear for Hiking
How to Choose the Right Trekking Poles
Choosing the Right Backpack for Hiking
Choosing the Right Clothes for Hiking

The Book of Blister, No Thanks To My Sister has 2 Comments

  1. Yvonne Koster

    20 March, 2019 at 6:26 PM

    This is a very valuable article. I had some blisters come early in the piece on my Tasmania East Coast Explorer walk in January. Dear Merrin, one of the fabulous guides, gave me some fixamull and also some hikers wool + explained that my little cotton socks were not suitable. I did have wicking ones with me. I had dome several commercial walks on walking holidays before hand but never had all the issues re blisters been properly explained. Of course I should have been more proactive in the past and researched this myself. However having someone who walks the walk and talks the talk – who really knows – is far better than a website. A very useful article.

    • Maja Grey

      22 March, 2019 at 8:43 AM

      I’m glad you’ve found it useful Yvonne. I can also just imagine how helpful Merel would’ve been when you suffered from blisters on your Tassie trip with us. Hopefully now you have some tools to key those nasty blisters at bay on future walks.