Blisters aren’t just an occupational hazard for construction workers. Even the most seasoned hikers can get them every now and again on their feet.
While you may not be able to avoid blisters altogether, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of them getting in the way of a great hike.
You might not think about it until you feel the pain, but one of the worst things that you could have happen on a hike is to get a blister.
Anyone who has experienced it will tell you how much they hate them so why even take that risk? There are many factors that contribute to getting blisters while hiking and some of those reasons are completely avoidable which means you should do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.
Keep these tips in mind when gearing up for your next big hike and good luck!
How To Avoid Blisters When Hiking:
There is no one way that works for everybody and this may mean trying multiple different tactics until you find what works best for your feet.
You can, however, take some steps to protect yourself from developing blisters in the first place including breaking in new shoes before hitting the trail, using moleskin or blister band-aids after you get a blister and making sure your socks aren’t too tight.
Wear The Right Footwear
By far, the most important factor in how to avoid blisters while hiking is having appropriate footwear for comfort and support during your hike.
The best hiking boots for your feet depend on multiple factors, including your foot type, the terrain you’ll be hiking over and the weather conditions.
There is not one pair of shoes that work for every hiker, so make sure to pick a shoe that fits comfortably and provides adequate support.
The second most important factor in how to avoid blisters while hiking is wearing good quality socks . Make sure they are made from moisture-wicking material, as this will help prevent blisters caused by sweat and friction as you hike.
You should also avoid thick cotton socks or any other types of clothing that might bunch up inside your boot and cause friction against your heel or toes.
Many hikers swear by using moleskin or similar products to protect against blisters. Others find that they create more problems than they solve, so don’t feel like you have to use them if you don’t want to.
Moleskin works better on areas of the foot that aren’t covered by a boot, such as between toes where friction occurs frequently during downhill walking.
Make sure to use clean scissors while cutting moleskin so that it stays in place on the skin and cuts straight lines around each toe rather than circles
Replace Your Shoes
Be sure to replace your shoes every 500 miles or so, especially if you ‘ re hiking on a regular basis. Shoes get worn out in the spots where your foot tends to hit the ground (on the soles and heels), which can cause painful blisters.
Change The Way You Walk
If this doesn’t work , try changing the way you walk by turning up onto your toes while walking down a hill (as opposed to rolling down your toes) . This will help mitigate the friction.
Choosing The Right Terrain
The final factor you might be able to control in how to avoid blisters while hiking is what terrain you are hiking on and how long you plan to hike for.
If you need to walk through wet or muddy areas, try moving more slowly and picking spots where there’s more room between yourself and the ground; this will help prevent big gaps from forming between each toe that may cause blisters if they rub against each other when hiking downhill.
It also helps to keep good posture by staying straight up instead of hunching forward. If you plan to walk long distances, take regular breaks and start out with short (shorter than usual) hikes to get your feet ready for the distance of your bigger hike.
READ MORE : Can You Use Snow Boots For Hiking?
What causes blister?
Scientists have found out what causes blisters and how we can prevent them. It turns out there are many different factors that contribute to getting blisters on your feet and some of those reasons are completely avoidable.
When you walk, your shoes and foot strike with each other in a way that creates friction. This is called shear force. The shear force can rip off the top layer of skin from your foots surface which could get infected or lead to painful sores on the bottom of your foot.
To prevent this from happening, make sure you wear boots that fit correctly and break them in before you do any serious hiking.
The next reason for blistering is due to moisture buildup between the layers of skin along with sweat and dirt getting trapped in there too.
Moisture buildup leads to rubor (painful inflammation). To prevent this from happening, make sure you wear clean socks and take regular breaks to air out your feet.
Another way that blisters can occur while hiking is due to friction between our soft tissue and shoes upper materials against each other.
This rubor (painful inflammation) causes blood vessels near the surface of joints to become inflamed which leads to the formation of painful blisters.
Wearing hiking boots that have a lacing system with good ankle support will help prevent these types of blisters from developing on your feet because it allows more room for natural movement and good air circulation.
READ MORE : Can You Run in Hiking Shoes?
What to do with blisters while hiking?
1. Determine the location of the hot spot (or small, newly formed blister) on your foot.
2. Clean the treatment area with alcohol wipes to remove moisture and body oils, allowing the adhesive to adhere much better.
3. If you have benzoin tincture (a type of tree sap), apply it around – but not on – the hot spot, which is basically where the moleskin will be placed.
4. Take a sheet of moleskin and apply it as follows: Cut a square of moleskin that is half an inch larger than the hot spot.
5. Fold the piece of moleskin in half.
6. Make a hole in the center of the folded sheet. Make the hole just large enough to encircle the hot spot without touching it. The hot spot should remain in a pressure-free “donut hole.”
If you come across a hot spot, don’t keep hiking for another hour hoping it will go away. Take a break and take care of it. If the laces simply need to be adjusted, that’s great; but if that doesn’t work, take a moment to pause, sit down, and remove that sock.
Yes, your friends may chastise you for stopping, but it is your foot that is in pain, not theirs.
Tips How To Treat a Blister
Clean the area thoroughly with soap and water before applying antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. Wash your hands with soap and water first to avoid infecting the wound.
Using adhesive tape or butterfly bandages, cover the blister with a thin, protective layer of gauze before putting on socks.
Don’t put anything inside the blister — including medicine or liquid antiseptics — because it can delay healing. This is especially important if there’s an open sore you need to keep clean so that it won’t become infected.
Antibiotics are often prescribed for serious blisters caused by bacterial infections.
However, most blisters heal in 2 weeks without medication as long as you keep them covered and they don’t pop open on their own.
From time to time soak affected area(s) thoroughly using warm water without adding soap (twice a day) till it has healed.
This will speed up the process of healing. Blisters usually heal within 2 weeks, but they can last longer in some individuals.
If you have frequent blister problems, ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a dermatologist who specializes in skin disorders.
He or she may suggest changes to your clothing or shoes to reduce friction between your skin and whatever is rubbing against it.
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Does putting Vaseline on your feet prevent blisters?
Yes, One way you can help avoid blisters while running is by putting Vaseline on your feet. There has been some controversy over this issue, but according to Paul B. Laursen M.D., the trick works for some people…and it seems that the older you get, the better it works!
It’s still important to wear properly fitting shoes and socks. If not taken care of properly, little things like blisters can turn into bigger problems.
What’s even better about using this method is that you can keep applying it during your run if you need to! Just remember not to get any in between your toes!
Afterword, you can go wash your feet off and put on some clean socks after a long run, without having to worry about raw or blistered skin. Not only will you feel better, but others won’t have to stare at the damage!
How do you prevent blisters between toes when hiking?
A Good quality pair of Toe Socks or Vaseline between your toes can prevent blisters between toes when hiking.
You can see the toe socks HERE
Once you have a basic understanding of how to avoid blisters on feet from hiking and general hikes (hiking for fun and hike essentials), you can get down to the nitty gritty and start working out some specific ways that will keep those pesky blisters away when you’re hiking, backpacking or camping.
We’ve provided an overview of the best tips and tricks for avoiding blisters while hiking so that hopefully none of the pitfalls associated with them will ruin any future outdoor adventures!