View Full Version : Blister Problems

2006-07-06, 10:10
On a recent trip the hot spots on my feet turned to bloody messes. Needless to say, I had to cut my hike short. What brand(s) of tape/bandage work best? The kind I usually get is an anti-microbial bandage from www.kendallamd.com. It's keeps the infections at bay, but I not sure if I should be using tape in conjuction with it.

SGT Rock
2006-07-06, 10:21
On a recent trip the hot spots on my feet turned to bloody messes. Needless to say, I had to cut my hike short. What brand(s) of tape/bandage work best? The kind I usually get is an anti-microbial bandage from www.kendallamd.com (http://www.kendallamd.com/). It's keeps the infections at bay, but I not sure if I should be using tape in conjuction with it.

Well I have never used anything like that. I normally just use gauze, some neosporin, and some duct tape. But I would recommend stopping blisters before they form.

Since you felt hot spots, that should be a warning sign. Stop immediately (do not put this off until next break) and put some moleskin over the hot spot or use some duct tape (my favorite) this will prevent the blister from forming in the first place and give you a 100% win.

If you get to a break or camp and find a blister has formed, then treat it right away. Small blisters are best treated by protecting them so they will not grow, brake, or get bloody. You can do this by using moleskin and cutting a hole to go around the blister already formed, or us some gauze and some duct tape to make a pad for the blister. The only thing you really need to do with the gauze is keep the tape from sticking to the skin.

If you have gotten to camp and found this small blister, well then you may want to wipe down the area with some alcohol to toughen up the skin.

If a big, watery blister has formed, well it will most likely rupture anyway. So then you want to drain it with a sterilized needle, poke the blister right on the edge on the lowest point and let it drain. Then use some neosporin to treat the puncture and then gauze and moleskin or gauze and duct tape.

If the blister has already broken, then put some neosporin under the skin flap and protect as mentioned above.

2006-07-06, 12:22
As usual, Rock's advice is on the money. I've had good look with duct tape also. If you have a small blister that has formed, I just cover the whole thing with duct tape, before I apply it I cut a small section of tape and stick it to the sticky side of the large piece. The blister is covered with two pieces of tape, but nothing sticky is on the blister so you don't rip the skin off when you remove the tape. I've not had much luck with moleskin, it is usually too thick. Lack of space from too small or ill-fitting footgear is usually the source of the blister in the first place. Remember that a blister is a thermal injury, little different than burning your hand on your campstove. You'll see it faster on a hot day, even faster walking on pavement. I've found Goretex boots to be the source of a lot of blisters because they are so hot. Also, remember that a popped blister is an open wound, and an open wound on your foot is usually the slowest to heal and the most likely to get infected of any location on your body. Don't pop it unless you have to, but like Rock said, if it is large it is going to pop anyway so a controlled release, done cleanly as he described, is the proper treatment. A sterile needle will work, but I've had better luck cutting a small window (about 1cm/0.25in) with a small pair of iris scissors, these are small, sharp-pointed scissors. If you are going somewhere remote, a course of antibiotics would be in order if you see signs of infection, redness, swelling, and heat. Keflex (cephalexin) in a bubble pack in your first aid kit could be a trip saver. 250mg four times daily for five days. If you don't have signs of an infection, this isn't needed.

2006-07-07, 01:28
First it's importent to avoid the blisters. This can be done in many ways by preparing feet and/or footware with ducttape, moleskin, tenso ect.
An important area to protect is the hel since blisters here can seriously remove any joy from a hike. Use padded insoles or absorbing shoes to take the stress from the heel.

I also remove any dead skin with a pumice stone and sometimes petrol-jelly with salicylic-acid. This is easy when baqthing and the petrol jelly is applied afterwards - Take note that it's a bad idea to use any cream or similar on feet when close to a march/hike.
By removing the dead skin, the skin gets soft and blisters will not hurt as much and they will be easier to access for draining.

When cutting a blister I do it with a small pair of siccors, like Take-a-knee since this will let a blister drain over the next few days - If the blister is large I make serveral small drains in it. Hygiene is very important but mostly I can manage using iso or ethanol for disinfecting. A cut blister needs to drain and therefore gauze, artificial cotton eg. is important since it will absorb the fluids , keep the drain open and prevent the duct-tape, tenso or what-ever to stick to the loose skin.
I also don't use GoreTex boots since they keep in too much moisture and "boils up" the skin making it weak and more sensitive to stress causing blisters.
As already stated it's important to stop blisters early, then they are much less prone to get infected and they will hurt a lot less. It is not macho to walk on large blisters it's just plain stupid.
Take care of your feet, they should be cared for no less than you care for your hands and face. You might no be able to attain your goal if your feet will not carry you.

2006-07-08, 22:10
I find that I am more likely to get a blister if I haven't toughened up my feet BEFORE going on the hike. Your feet need to get used to your boots again if you haven't been hiking in a while. A few short hikes around the neighborhood during the weeks before you hit the trail may prevent blisters from forming.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Neosporin! :biggrin:

2006-07-08, 23:06
I've always used the nylon first aid tape. It's adhesive enough to stick even when your feet are sweaty, but not so sticky you can't get it off. I had problems with duct tape on the too-sticky end. My feet are almost always green when I hike (I don't get too very often), so I prep by taping the backs of my heels and the inside and outside of the balls of my feet before EVERY hike. This ensures no blisters from the get-go. I also pay very close attention to hot spots any time I'm wearing even FAIRLY new shoes; they might tend to rub in unusual places. Just my .02 :)

2006-07-10, 19:18
I've always used the nylon first aid tape.
Any kind in particular? I've had bad luck with it rubbing off sometimes and I find duct tape a bit too sticky.

2006-07-10, 23:09
GregH - No, never paid particular attention to the type. Just the basic slick-sided nylon first aid tape you can find at any drug store. I've never personally had a problem with it coming off, but I guess a guy could try different brands. This tape definitely beats duct tape in the over-stickiness category, though. Sorry I couldn't help more.

2006-07-18, 21:25
Maybe because I haven't used the slick-sided kind. I've used what is probably more aptly called "athletic tape." I'll try the first aid section and give it a go.