INSTRUCTOR’S INSIGHT: Pesky Blisters. How To Prevent, Treat And Care For Them.

06 March 2019

BLISTER 101

Blisters. Fluid-filled pockets that form on the upper layers of our skin…responsible for discomfort and even extreme pain at times. They most commonly occur due to friction against the skin, however heat and in some cases, chemical exposure can cause them too.

Pesky blisters can put a real dampener on an otherwise pleasant walk. Knowing how to prevent, treat and care for blisters will benefit any walker on the North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.

hiker walking in boots down cobbled path

FIRST OF ALL, PREVENT THEM!

You have blister-less feet. Let’s try to keep them that way! Here’s how.

  • Ill-fitting hiking boots will cause friction. Friction equals blisters. Ensure that your boots fit well and break your boots in well ahead of any long walk.
  • Wear comfortable, wool socks that are durable and supportive for your feet.
  • Notice when friction is happening, and take breaks often on longer walks like one of NY3P’s North Yorkshire Three Peak Challenges.
  • Keep your feet dry at all times and bring an extra pair of socks to change into should your feet become damp.
  • Pack a medical kit for your walk, if you feel a hotspot – stop to rest and apply a preventative plaster to the area.

OK, YOU ALREADY HAVE ONE WHILE OUT HIKING. HOW TO TREAT A BLISTER NOW.

A blister appearing mid-hike is an annoyance and could lead to pain, knowing what to do on the spot when you get one is important. Follow the tips below to treat a blister right away.

  • First of all, take a break and rest! You should take immediate pressure away from the area and attend to the blister.
  • A blister that is not yet broken should still be treated as soon as possible. Carefully clean the blister with a saline solution or clean water and apply a protective moleskin plaster.
  • A broken blister requires immediate treatment. Clean the wound with a saline solution or clean water, apply an antibiotic ointment and a moleskin plaster to protect the area from further exposure.
an open red first aid kit

AFTER-HIKE CARE

Ouch! You’ve arrived home after a long hike and it’s time to treat your feet, follow these healing tips for blister aftercare.

  • If you have a large undrained blister that is causing extreme pain, seek help from a doctor as soon as possible. Where possible DO NOT attempt to puncture the blister yourself.
  • A wound from a broken blister should be kept clean with a saline solution, which can be made at home. Be sure to apply a fresh plaster afterwards, and every few days give it a bit of ventilation.
  • If you think that your blister has become infected, visit a doctor immediately for treatment.
  • Avoid long walks or other strenuous activity on your feet for a while until your feet have fully recovered which generally takes up to one week.