290 forum posts
Blisters...the bane of exercise enthusiasts! I was asked to post my tips as I have picked up some good tricks and ideas over the years.
A very simple fix is to just cut a center hole in a band aid pad, just larger than the blister, and affix. For little blisters, that works pretty well.
I have also used the "holed" bandaid, then put a regular bandaid over the top of the "holed" one.
Mole skin can be used in a similar fashion. Lots of people make the mistake of plunking a chunk of moleskin right over an existing blister. That can often aggravate the problem, PLUS one can pull the blistered skin right off.
Also, be sure, when using moleskin on the pinky toe, to wrap the moleskin all the way around the toe so the moleskin sticks to itself. It helps the moleskin to stay put better. Little toes shuck blister treatment worse than any other body part, I think.
For large blisters, I recommend draining them, but ONLY with a good, sharp needle (not pin) [I carry one with me]. NEVER EVER puncture the blister on the top. After disinfecting the needle and skin, gently but firmly insert the needle at the corona of the blister. Push the needle in a ways to drain the blister. If it is a big one, the practitioner may need to insert in more than one or two other places.
Then use the "holed" method of blister treatment. The trick here is giving a space for the blister to go while providing protection. It acts almost like a moat. Plus, the fabric of choice raises the area around the blister, helping to change the pressure of the contact point.
Duct tape can be effectively used, especially if the area just has a hot spot. Always round the corners (bandaids, moleskin, ducttape, whatever) so no edges can catch. Make the dressing at least a third bigger than the hotspot, again to help diffuse pressure. I have used this technique on toes, balls of feet, heels, etc.
With each of these techniques, I have "polished" them with paraffin wax. Using a chunk of parafin wax works really well when rubbed over athletic tape and blister care as it helps smooth out any wrinkles, and it firms the adhesive down. It also helps the sock to rub over the treatment rather than want to stick to it.
BTW understand that if someone uses the ducttape methods, the adhesive may want to stick to the wearer's socks.
The last and most aggressive treatment is to use tegaderm. It was originally developed to treat burns. It is permable, but quite durable.
Cut the tegaderm at least a third larger than the affected area (after cleaning and disinfecting the site), and giving it plenty of room to stick down. If necessary, trim the torn flap made by the torn skin of the blister; otherwise, leave it or milk it.
Tegaderm does not always stick to feet well under socks, so I usually use moleskin in addition. If the blister is serious enough, use the holed method, or the holed layer method.
I had the most severe blister of my life in the middle of a 60 mile trip, and I had used all of my bag of tricks. My friend, who is a nurse, had some tegaderm with her. That additional layer was enough to help my skin tolerate the blister treatment, plus it aided healing. I was able to finish my hike when I was literally on the verge of calling it quits.