Prevention and treatment are part and parcel of walking long distances with light or heavy burdens, especially over broken terrain. Don't think the above graphic example could happen to you? Trust me it can. And, without much fuss, you can find even worse examples out there on the interwebz.
The graphic below shows the three primary areas blisters may occur because of incorrect fit of one's chosen foot wear, improperly broken in well-fitting footwear, friction from either socks (dry socks on wet feet or wet socks on wet feet), or loosening footwear as the wearer chooses not to occasionally snug the laces.
There's a lot of prevention tape you can use, to include the old-school, silver duct tape, or military 100mph tape (basically green duct tape). Careful with these two, though: They have SUPER adhesive qualities, and if you pull them off too fast, you can hurt yourself. Usually, one needs some sort of adhesive remover or baby oil....or something.
You can also use Leukotape, pictured below, which has a strong adhesion factor, but not quite as nuclear as duct tape. I happen to like and use it.
You can also use Moleskin, which I keep in my ruck.
Bottom line point is this: When you decide you must now walk a long way with a heavy load, or even a light load, or NO load, you don't want blisters slowing you down. Blisters can immobilize you.
An ounce of prevention, and all that.
Wildland fire guy. If you think your feet are good. Get on some sloping terrain you will find weak points. Also. Hand sanitizer is great to dry and sanitize your feet.ReplyDelete
I'm 67, still hiking and backpacking whenever possible. Keep duct tape and gorilla tape wrapped around my trekking poles for repairs and foot care. But what I find shocking is the number of people I meet who still won't wear good/high quality socks and footwear, that's one of the major problems to start with. Cotton socks suck ass, as do cheap Walmart/Asian boots. Don't buy that shit!!! Darn Tough socks (3 different weights) and quality European made boots (Meindl and Asolo) are what I wear, can't remember my last blister. And the knowledge of when to stop and administer preventative/first aid, before it gets worse.ReplyDelete
I use Hoffman and Crispi-they're what fit my feet the best.Delete
When you get into high-end boots like Meindl, Kennetrek, Asolo, etc; quality is very similar across the board.
One of the great things about Vermont Darn Tough socks is the lifetime warranty on them. You wear them out, you get a new pair. So while it sucks to kick out $25/pr for them, think of it as a lifetime purchase of a pair of socks. I have 20+ pair now that I've had for four years, and haven't worn a pair out yet.
Amen on 'Darn Tough' socks as well as quality boots (the other two legs on the legged stool)! I've been using Darn Tough for over 10 years, and they are good as their word on replacement. No questions, no hassles. I find it humorous, though, that on their warranty page they announce that if they get dirty socks back, it voids the warranty. I cannot accept people would send back dirty socks!!!Delete
How to apply?ReplyDelete
Cut to fit the area you're trying to protect. I would not recommend putting Leukotape or Duct/100mph tape over drained blisters - it'll take the protective dead skin right off. Put a pad or bandaid under it. Also use some sort of healing ointment.Delete
And take 5 minutes and look up how to actually apply on a search engine. Easy peasy.
DTG hits the nail on the head again!ReplyDelete
I'm including this in the next book I put out.
Memories of walking with infected and swollen feet so bad I couldn't wear my boots come back to my mind.
Two pair of socks and all the medic's tape walking miles to get to a road pick up in Africa.
Associate Member, Sully H. deFontaine Special Forces Association Chapter 51, Las Vegas, Nevada
Author of “The Slaver’s Wheel”, “A Failure of Civility,” “And We Hide From The Devil,” “Civil Defense Manual” and “In Defense.”
“The Reality of a Catastrophic Event is the shock to the mind that the effects it produces cannot be normally comprehended as possible” - Jack Lawson, Author of the Civil Defense Manual
Thanks, Jack! Appreciate you coming by and your insight! Drop me a line if you get the notion.Delete
Excellent post. It is sometimes those little things like blisters that are so easy to overlook.ReplyDelete
I was on crutches six weeks after horse riding accident. In the moment it didnt hurt nearly as much as a standard blister.
My mother has always told me; always invest in a good bed or good boots. If you aint in one you're in the other.
Yepper! Mr. Moleskin is your friend! Have some all 'round the place. Been using it since my wrestling, football, judo, and tae kwon do days in the 1960s. Nothing worse than raw, red skin blisters getting rubbed raw-er by shoes or boots. Like my Daddy, a grunt from WW2, always told us boys: "When your feet are happy--YOU are happy!"ReplyDelete
Thanks, CPL Rokka! Your dad gave you pearls of wisdom!Delete
Spent most of my 40's section hiking the pacific crest trail in the cascades.. Moleskin, socks and high quality hiking boots are a necessity, also, trim your toe nails. I cant stress enough the need for the high quality boots. I broke my ankle off trail hiking the back side of MT. Rainer, had to hike 6 miles back to the truck on Chinook pass. Took me 3 days. I caught some flak for the $400. I spent on boots, But they were the reason why I didnt end up on the evening news as a rescue. The lacing eyelets had small pulleys that allowed me tighten the boot down around my ankle so I could walk/hobble on it. That was 20 yrs ago, I long retired those boots but cant bring myself to get rid of them. They saved my ass.ReplyDelete
A lot of folks don't know that, either: Once your foot or ankle is injured and you take the boot off, it isn't going back on without extreme pain and potential additional loss of function. Great insight!Delete
Back in the 80's I had a gun shop in central ID and sold a guy a Ruger .41 magnum, we went out on a Sunday to go shooting and the first thing he did was shoot himself thru the foot with it. Didn't even remove his cowboy boot, I assumed it would be full of bone fragments and torn flesh, so I left it on and hauled ass for the rural hospital 25 miles away. Turned out he missed every bone (hard cast SWC), just a simple thru and thru between the metatarsels and he was walking again in a short time.Delete
He went into shock on me, said it was like getting hit with a sledgehammer.
Tape might prevent blisters, but once you have them, Spenco 2nd skin is the answer. I have worn blisters just like the ones shown in the picture, and applied 2nd skin and covered it with moleskin and walked another 20 miles without any detriment or pain. It is pretty amazing stuff and can get you out of a jam so you can heal up.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the tip! In all my years rucking/hiking, I've never heard of that product. Have to get me some most ricky-tick!Delete
Every time I order from Rescue Essentials (they are the best place I can find for individual pack OTC meds), I throw one or two of their $3 blister kits in, and toss in whatever bag/stash/vehicle is handy. (There are always at least 2 kits in my EDC bag.) You never know when you are going to be walking, and if you are going to unexpectedly be walking more than you normally do, you will need it. Moleskin, tape, Neosporin, and a tincture of benzoin ampule. (If you want a hot shot from the benzoin, you'll need your own syringe. It's really there to keep the moleskin on sweaty and wet skin.)ReplyDelete
In a book (Jungle, Desert, Arctic, Ocean Emergencies - United States Army Air Corps) I got from my father who flew in the Pacific during WW2 the last item in a list on page 6 states (in the event you have to bail out): Wear shoes you can walk home in. I have passed that advice on to many people to whom it did not naturally occur.ReplyDelete
Excellent advice! Wearing shoes one cannot walk home in, no matter what situation, is an invitation to disaster!Delete
When you get a blister, DON'T put the protective fabric on top of the blister. This just ads pressure and makes the situation worse. Place the protection AROUND the blister so nothing touches it. Now the blister is exposed to air, and nothing else, and can scab over properly. Works perfectly.ReplyDelete
I read about Leukotape-P a few years ago on another blog and used it twice in advance of blisters on weeklong backpacking trips. It's superior to moleskin (and I've been hiking for 40 years). The hand sanitizer for cleaning feet is a gem! Thank you!ReplyDelete