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Foot Blisters

imageBlisters are probably the most common problem foot problem walkers suffer from when bushwalking. Usually blisters are caused by excess heat and moisture or due to friction between foot and boot also know as the coefficient of friction (COF). To prevent blisters you need to reduce shear, moisture and heat.

How to Prevent and Treat Foot Blisters

Using two layers of socks,for instance a liner to help wick moisture away from the skin.
Try to keep your feet dry by removing your shoes and socks regularly and letting the air get to them, and even changing socks for a dry pair.

There are various options of special socks, material padding that has shear reducing materials in the sock like Silipos gel lined sock, neoprene or spenco, and prosthetic socket liners. A study carried out at the University of Missouri-Columbia tested 10 brands of athletic socks. The findings showed that a sock’s material matters most, not brand or price.  Blisters are more likely to develop the higher the COF where the sock and shoe meet. The study found that 100 percent cotton socks usually increased the COF when a person started to sweat. The higher priced socks did not deliver better results than the inexpensive brands. The material that composed the sock is the key. Nylon socks performed the best. Socks that were a cotton-synthetic blend were positioned between the two.
The selection of footwear that are well fitted, comfortable, “breathable” that give adequate ventilation. It is also important to ensure that shoes or hiking boots have been properly broken in. For more information see the Bushwalking Footwear section.

Friction-reducing petroleum jelly or a personal lubricant can be an effective preventative measure as well as an effective treatment option.

The use of coverings such as moleskin, cut to shape, can be very useful if applied over potential pressure are such as the back of the heel or around the big toe. 

In the event of getting a blister do not puncture or rip off the overlying blister or skin flap. If you must “bust” the blister then it should be lanced with a sterilised needle and drained, then an antiseptic cream should be applied to prevent infection. Padding or dressings such as moleskin can be then put over the painful area but be careful not to applied the sticky areas directly on to an already bust blister or irritated skin. Remove the covering once you have stopped walking for a while or overnight to allow the area to dry out.