No one likes a blister, whether it’s in your ski boots, halfway through a marathon or during a long hike, preventing blisters can make that black run more enjoyable or help you shave seconds off your race time.
Sadly even if you haven’t had blisters during training there is still a chance of developing them on your long hike or race day. The best way to prevent blisters is doing some preventative taping of your feet, however today we are going to discuss, in the case of developing a blister what is the best way to treat them.
To start off let’s identify the four types of blisters and how to best treat them.
1. Intact fluid filled blister
Because the blister is intact it is protecting the new skin underneath it. This is a good thing as the skin is a barrier preventing infections.The aim of treating this blister is to protect the roof of the blister to stop it from breaking, you can do this by:
Try to minimise the pressure.
This can be done with some felt, cut a hole in the centre of the felt and place the blister in this hole. This helps by reducing the weight directly onto the blister.
try a thick bandaid or second skin from the chemist.
Check the fit of your shoes, perhaps try re-lacing them or changing your socks. Look for socks which are dry and thin and provide moisture wicking technology. These type of socks will draw sweat away from the foot and stop moisture from building up.
2. A broken blister
This blister is now susceptible to infection as the barrier has broken, you will need to treat as above plus
Use an antiseptic ointment (eg. Betadine) to first dress the area.
Keep the area clean and dry.
3. A deroofed blister
This can be quite painful and there is no skin protecting the area. It will take a bit longer to heal due to the wound being more open. The aim for this type of blister is
Keep the area moist with a wound gel or antiseptic cream. This will avoid the area from drying out, reducing the elasticity of the skin and delaying the healing process.
Keep to area covered, this will prevent infections.
Dress with a gel bandage to create a second skin, eg. “compeed blister patches” or “bandaid advanced healing patches.” These are thick and will cushion and seal the area for best pain relief.
4. Toe blisters
These can be quite common in hikers or runners, to prevent these blisters it is best to tape your feet use a hypoallergenic tape (such as Hyperfix, Fixamol, Mefix etc.)
Individually tape your toes, you can do this by using two strips of tape. One goes over the toe and the other goes around it.
Any other “hot spots” such as the arch of your foot or heel can then also be taped.
If you are on an overnight hike, usually the tape can last 2 days before needing to be redone.
I hope you have learnt more about blisters, how to treat them and how to avoid them. If you are having trouble with blistering or would like more information, then please get in touch:)