Blisters? In the middle of the trip! Here's how to fix it.

Jul 06 , 2019

Bridgette Hyde

Blisters? In the middle of the trip! Here's how to fix it.

You have a blister but tomorrow you leave for another hike, another multi day trek, another day on the feet in the same shoes. What do you do? 

I have been there! I understand. Most of the research I found didn't understand that I was in the middle of my adventures. This fact warranted special advice on how to fix it and continue on! God knows a blister will not stop me from that summit! 

It is advisable to keep the blister, meaning do not pop the blister! 

I have popped the blister and continued on by foot and my reward is pain every step and new blisters. The skin under the liquid is tender and fresh. As you continue, in the same boots and shoes, the friction hits that fresh tender skin every single step and sometimes twice per step. I suggest keeping the blister even though it has some pain of it's own. 

1. Remove or limit the friction between the skin and anything (socks, shoes).

Is the sock or shoe causing the blister? I find that question to be the likeness of the chicken or the egg. It's hard to determine the answer and it doesn't matter. Something is literally rubbing your skin the wrong way. Protect the skin at all cost. Cut or tear a hole in the sock or shoe if you know the friction point.

The most sensible solution is to cover the irritated area with tape or a full stick bandage. Cloth tape is my preference over plastic tape and duck tape is often available and works great. Strong and super sticky bandages with padding is best because remember this area is subject to lots of friction and is tender. Today, use what ever you have to cut through that friction on the skin. 

When you get home, absolutely put a package of XXX product blister in your pack. Never take a trip with out them. I'm not sure why I keep making this mistake, but learn from me. Either you or a friend will need these trip saving, attitude adjusting, bandages!  

2. Keep the friction barrier (tape) in place during your activity and until the fluid naturally dissipates. 

Change the sticker or tape as the friction wears at the edges and forces you to change it. Keep the bandage in place for days. Try not to disturb the blister and cover. Often when you do change the sticker you might tug hard at the delicate damaged blister skin and tear the skin (essentially popping the blister).

If you pop the blister. Let the fluid drain. Press on the blister and move out some of the liquid. No need to fully drain the blister because the liquid minimizes the soreness. Be sure to add anti-bacteria gel to the torn skin spot and area. Then put a friction cover sticker back over the blister area. Repeat this cycle until you can get off your feet and out of those shoes and socks. 

3. At rest, provide air and sun and remove all friction until healed

Once you come to a resting point expose the blister to sun and air. Let it dry out and remove all friction. It will heal over time. In the picture, these large blisters took 6 days to flatten and heal up some. 

 

 

 

 

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Picture credits: Bridgette Hyde.

She hiked for about 102km (63 miles) with blisters that wouldn't heal because she wouldn't stop. But she survived and was happy to complete the Salkantay Trek and Huayhuash Trek.