There is a single vicious ailment that can kick even the toughest outdoor athletes out of the woods and back into their homes, defeated and frustrated. Friction can be man’s worst enemy in multiple activities and in many ways. We won’t get into them all, but it is important to talk about one of friction’s most aggravating results: Blisters.
Anybody who has had to deal with deep blisters knows how incapacitating they can be. Whether your whole foot has been a raw, pus-filled mess, or you’ve had a small, freckle of a blister that caused you immeasurable pain, following the simple steps listed below will help alleviate and hopefully prevent the friction bubbles we fear so much.
Picking The Right Shoes
Blister care starts with prevention, and the most important thing in preventing blisters is having the right shoes. For many years, popular belief was that a fortified tank of a book will prevent exposure from the elements ant thereby preventing blisters. But if you’ve ever worn waterproof, leather boots on a long hiking trip, you know this isn’t entirely true. Instead, choose a more light-weight shoe that allows your foot to do what it was designed to do, and unless you’re climbing to the peak of a glacial mountain, consider not going water-proof, and instead, give your feet some air. Above all, never wear cotton socks, and never enter the woods with a pair of shoes that still have the price tags on, you’ve got to break those suckers in!
Lube ‘em Up
Once you’ve carefully selected your foot-ware, given it some action, and softened the interior a bit, you may still want to take some precautionary measure to avoid developing any hot-spots. It’s a good idea to apply some petroleum jelly, bag balm, or lubricant-of-your-choosing to your entire foot before putting on your socks. It feels gross, and your feel will be greasy for quite a while, but this easy step will make any movement within your shoe well-oiled instead of rough and irritating.
Sometimes you do everything you can in order to prevent unwanted pain only to be burdened with a bulbous, red bubble of raw skin making you limp at every step. Once you realize that you’ve got to take care of an existing blister, you have to be very careful; Not because it hurts to pop them (don’t be a wimp!), but because if you do it improperly, you can infect the blister, which is a much bigger problem. You’ll need to relieve the pressure of the blister by draining the puss (it can be nasty). To pop a blister, use a needle, or if you don’t have one, use the tip of your knife. Sterilize the needle by holding it in a flame or with your handy hand sanitizer, then make a grimace and stab yourself in the foot (carefully though, on the side of the blister). You want to make a small, shallow hole by which to push the puss through.
Wrap ‘em Up
To prevent infection, it is important to properly cover up your foot-wounds. There are many products on the market that are designed to cover and care for your developed blisters. Moleskin blister pads are widely used as the go-to blister treatment. Moleskin is a thick tape that is place around the affected area with a hole cut in the center. It is effective by elevating the surface around the blister so that the blister itself has less contact with the inside of the shoe. If you don’t have moleskin in your first-aid kit, a Band-Aid will usually do the trick. Just remember to put some antibiotic ointment on the blister first and when you’re done, wrap them up with extra medical tape or duct tape. You don’t want anything getting in there!