Blisters are one of the most common ailments suffered by hikers. Not only can they be painful and take the fun out of hiking, but they can be an entry point for infections, which can be serious.
To help prevent blisters, break in new shoes or boots gradually before you begin your hike. As soon as you feel any discomfort or "hot spot" developing, stop hiking and place moleskin or duct tape over areas developing soreness.
- Keep your feet as dry as possible while hiking.
- When you stop for breaks, take your shoes and socks off to air out your feet or change socks.
- Don't wait for a blister to develop before treating.
If a blister does develop and breaks, or is painful enough that it needs to be popped to reduce pressure, use a sterilized needle to puncture the blister. Clean and disinfect the area, apply antibiotic ointment, and cover with an adhesive bandage or blister care product. A couple layers of moleskin with a circle cut out just larger than the blister, or donut-shaped adhesive-backed callous cushion can relieve pressure.
Remember this advice: keep blisters "CDC," or Clean, Dry, and Covered. Click here for a poster!