SEVERE Blisters....what to do.

11:06 p.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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I have hiked and played sports and broken in shoes for an entire life time. So when I went hiking Saturday and got blisters within the first mile of a pretty strenuous 8 miler I stopped and dressed them both. They are pretty bad and Monday night the throb and ache just sitting in a chair. They are not infected but I have never had this kind of blister pain before. I could not wear any shoes today though I had to force them for a meeting at work in the morning and for the drive home. The worst of the two has lost their blister cover and it even makes my heel pads feel bruised though the blisters are not that low at all...any suggestions?

12:31 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Nexcare makes waterproof bandaids that I've use over blisters before. They are very slick preventing more abrasion. Over in the "Bug bites ... what do you use to quell the itch ??" somebody mentions Liquid Anbesol 20%. I would put a small amount on the blisters and cover with a Nexcare.

1:12 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Thank you!

8:47 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Find something called "moleskin" and place over the blisters once they start to form.  It should help out now, but let them breathe whenever you can and give them some anti-bi ointment every now and then.  They are already there, so all you can do now is pretty much just baby them :(

I would also look into a boots/shoes and socks combo that don't rub quite as much.  You might have a fit problem.  Go to a local shop and ask the Pros.

Hope this helps a bit.

8:53 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I took the boots back to REI. They were Asolo GTX and just did not work for more reasons than the blisters. I had broken them in on about half a dozen rock wall approaches. I previously had good luck with KEEN Oregon PCT's and ordered a pair of those. I use silk liners and had smart wool on. Think the smart wool is not my cup of tea either.

9:38 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I have the Oregon PCTs. Not really happy with them for a few reasons(none of which has anything to do with fit because they fit great.) I bought a pair of Scarpas and am never looking back.

Keens leather sucks up water like a sponge. My Pyrenees and Oregons leather seems to be made by Shamwow which I think has alot to do with them leaking. I just recently did an 80 miler and by day 2 there were bubbles coming out of them. I have learned Keen Dry means use only in dry weather.

Anywho, I would definitely agree with the moleskin..

9:50 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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That is good to know.....I live in Vegas and water is not a big factor here, but when I go to Nepal, I will need to be sure that the boots won't fail me water wise. I need full boots for the support on my ankles...getting older!

I have the moleskins and flip flops. Gotta put on real shoes to go to court this morning but once that is over and I am back in the office will hide the feet under the desk in flip flops again.

10:25 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I decided to treat the leather on them with Obenhauf's and I believe it will cure the leather soaking up water which I think should have a positive effect on the leaking issue that I encountered. I would definitely recommend treating them. I used NikWax on the fabric portions of the boot and the Obenhauf's on the leather. I actually think they look better too.


oregons-001.jpg

I had Asolos as well, ended up giving them away. Which ones did ya have? Granted I have yet to get out to Nepal but from what I have seen ya may want to consider something a lil "beefier" than the Oregon. Just mho.

Oh, before I forget welcome to Trailspace giftogab.

11:47 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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This is from a post I wrote a couple of years ago--you can find the whole thread under "Blisters"

Rick is very correct that if your boots fit right, or broken in well, the whole blister issue is drastically reduced. If you can identify why the boots bite, take them into a good shoe place and have them stretched or rubbed; otherwise, you may want to sell your boots and start over. 

"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."

12:31 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Good stuff second gear. I would like to add that if you are draining the blister, when you poke a hole in it with a needle do not poke the hole on the top or bottom of the blister. Do it on the left or right side. This will cut down on the risk of it tearing because when you walk your heel is being rubbed up/down by your boot. If you drain it on the side it seems to really help from experiences that I have encountered during trips and also in the military.

I can definitely relate to your 60 mile blister battle. I was wearing those Keens above on my last trip(80 miler.) Well by day 2 my feet were soaked. By day 3 my feet were sore and by day 4 they were ground beef.

I wanted to finish out in my Tevas but due to the rocky terrain I figured blisters and what I thought was the beginning stages of trench foot(thank god it wasn't) was better than snapping an ankle.

As soon as I got back I ordered a new pair of boots(Scarpa SL M3s which are awesome.) I also sent Keen a very well written, "polite," customer feedback letter. I wasn't rude but I did not hesitate on telling them exactly what I feel. I feel they need to stick to sandals.

Never the less, after I went back and forth with a rep on this matter they reimbursed me the full amount for the Oregons(store credit) which I spent on a pair of Keen McKenzies and 4 pair of socks.

I still have faith in Keen as a whole but I will stay away from their boots. Oh, they let me keep the Oregons. So, I retreated the fabric with NikWax, and the leather with Obenhauf's. I will use these as a day hiker.

From the last experience I don't think I could be comfortable with them on a multi-day trek again.

 

5:43 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I love my Keens here in the desert. They are like wearing slippers on my feet so that is what I got to replace those Asolo's of this past Saturday. I will look at teh Scarpa's, but if I can get the Keens to be fit for teh Everest Base cAmp Trek, those are the front runners. Thanks all for your help. My blister kit will be supplied well for future!

5:51 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Thats pretty rocky terrain from what I have seen. My Oregons lost a lug on my latest trip here in Rocksylvania. Mind you they were only worn a few times prior to this.


Keen-009.jpg

 

1:03 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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If real severe go to the doctor.

Until then keep them clean, popped, keep skin on them and bandaged.

Keep off them.

5:54 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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It got bad enough that I contemplated the doc.....the swelling taht extended beyond the blister area...but several horus later it bgan to calm down. Now, 4 days after the initial blisters, the right is like a real bad soar that I could tolerate wearing shoes and the left is getting back to normal with regard to reduced swelling, healing in the open blister but still very sore, very deep. I ahve dressed them, but air them as much as possible. I anticipat a recovery by weekend that is enough to actually wear shoes....my new boots will be in by then but will not get them on until the following weekend. :(

Thanks so much to everyone!

6:55 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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I used to use Duct Tape and Moleskin, but was always left dissatisfied...

"Leukotape P" is where it's at. Expensive, but undeniably worth it. It is best used as a pre-treat, even before you find a hotspot. Once you know where they are prone to develop, stick some of this stuff over the area, rounding the corners if you like (not really needed), making sure to extend the tape a good 1/2-1" or so beyond said area.

It stays on for days and days...through sock changes, bathing, anything really. With absolutely no follow-up attention, I routinely find that Leukotape stays on my skin for 5+ days. The trick is two-fold: the adhesive used is zinc-oxide, and the fabric backing is extremely breathable. There is no other treatment method I know of that stays on so long, with such little attention. You will find that the adhesive can bleed through and cause the tape to stick lightly to any sock you might be wearing, so be aware of that.

Bonus: it is also ideal for sprains and strains. With the proper know-how, and ankle's motion can be properly limited, as desired, with as little as 16" of this stuff. It's simply amazing tape.

For what it's worth, I am Wilderness First Responder certified, and have treated many, many blisters.

7:03 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks! @Pillowthread! Please excuse all the typos above! I must have been sleeping whilst typing!

9:15 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Never heard of that pillowthread. I usually use duct tape but by the sounds of it I'm doing something wrong! Any suggestions of where to buy it?

9:19 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Hmmmmm just read up on it. Not cheap is right! Originally used for treatment of patellofemoral, hip and shoulder pain. I used to volunteer at a physio clinic, maybe I could get some cheaper.

9:33 a.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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I am adding it to my kit for sure!

9:40 a.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

. I used to volunteer at a physio clinic,

 Volunteer ?

____________________________________________

                                   ~r2~

11:52 p.m. on July 14, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Jake W said:

. I used to volunteer at a physio clinic,

 Volunteer ?

____________________________________________

                                   ~r2~

 I was waiting for someone to jump on that one. :p

12:40 a.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I always keep moleskin in my pack, people need it if I don't. I use Aloe Vera on blisters. I have a bucket of it growing in my garden.

12:50 a.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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pillowthread said:


Bonus: it is also ideal for sprains and strains. With the proper know-how, and ankle's motion can be properly limited, as desired, with as little as 16" of this stuff. It's simply amazing tape.

 So, where does one learn how to maximize this stuff?  I have seen it used on the Olympics, and I have a coaching minor, where I learned how to do a bunch of sports med stuff, but I haven't had the privilege of learning how to use this stuff.

7:24 a.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeah in high school I shadowed a kinesiologist for a year to gain some insight into the field, see if it was something that interested me.

4:00 p.m. on July 15, 2011 (EDT)
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I am getting this tape and talking to some of the crossfit guys who are also docs and gonna have it ready for the Big Trek!

11:40 p.m. on July 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Experience: 16 years Boy Scouts; 39 years private practice foot surgery.

Asolo GTX runs 1/2 size small.  If you normally wear a 9 bump it up to a 9.5

Prevention of blisters is the goal. lightly powder both feet w/ cornstarch

( preferably ) or baby powder. change socks VERY frequently, preferably merino wool. Moleskin is the remedy to treat "hot spots" but the real

choice is prevention, prevention, prevention.  I lecture every summer to scouts preparing for Philmont treks. Cannot stress enough regarding proper fitting boots, good socks ( NO cotton ) powder and break in preparations.

Way too much emphasis placed on moleskin  and that is after the fact.

12:17 a.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Harry Why Woodbadge Owl said:

Experience: 16 years Boy Scouts; 39 years private practice foot surgery.

Asolo GTX runs 1/2 size small.  If you normally wear a 9 bump it up to a 9.5

Prevention of blisters is the goal. lightly powder both feet w/ cornstarch

( preferably ) or baby powder. change socks VERY frequently, preferably merino wool. Moleskin is the remedy to treat "hot spots" but the real

choice is prevention, prevention, prevention.  I lecture every summer to scouts preparing for Philmont treks. Cannot stress enough regarding proper fitting boots, good socks ( NO cotton ) powder and break in preparations.

Way too much emphasis placed on moleskin  and that is after the fact.

 Won't the cornstarch cause problems with gore-tex, or any other membrane for that matter as far as breathability over prolonged use?

Rotating your socks can help as well. Absolutely with ya on the use of moleskin. Best applied at the first sign of a hotspot.

1:30 a.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I use Gold bond or a store copy of it, but I put it in my socks not in the boots.  Some will get in the boots but most of it stays in the socks.  I have not noticed anything different with the boots breathing, but they are not gore-tex or anything like that.  They are just cheep medium style boots.  Although I know I will need a much better pair if I start getting into longer hikes.

But the starch dose help a LOT on foot sweating and my feet feel 100 times better when I get to camp.  Still hot, but not really sweaty.  :)  They smell better also. 

Wolfman

12:03 a.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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I purchased the correct size of ASOLO boots. Tried them on with thick socks after on feet all day so the size was right. Today was the first day I could actually hike again. I used some thick bandages over the final scabs today and then wore some smart wool with silk liners underneath. I was in my new KEEN Oregon PCT's and they were like SLIPPERS. I guess they are just better for my feet. I do believe in prevention too, and treated these when I got the hot spots. Was wearing good socks, liners. It was the boots. Plain and simple and they are gone now, and someone who sees them at the REI garage sale will get a great pair of boots. Just not great for me.

2:03 a.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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giftogab- Which Asolos did you get?

7:09 a.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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I am glad your dog's arn't barking anymore:) Nice you found the pair of boots right for you. footwear is an individual thing because people's feet are really dofferent. Oh wanted to throw Maybe check out the Synm 7 pad or a down mat for your trip. But glad you feel better.

9:46 a.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks! I got a Big Agnes bag with a pad that goes with that system. The bag is a Zero and got it at Steep and Cheap for 143!

The Asolo's were FSN 95 GTX's.

5:30 p.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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the bottoms of my feet are like leather at this point, from years of competitive basketball through the college level.

The bottom of mine used to look like hamburger at the end of the season, where I had to cut off chunks of dead skin just so get a flat enough surface to be comfortable in shoes.

Now it seems hiking boots tend to cause problems in other areas where basketball shoes don't rub. The sides of my heels and upper inside part of the arch in my foot.

As others have said, moleskin works great once they start to form by keeping the friction off the area as much. I also use moleskin as a preventative, however. Once I know I get a blister in a certain area, I 'll cut a piece of moleskin to fit that area and put it on before the hike or climb even starts.

2:29 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Ha ha ha, I played ball competitively for years as well iclimb. The outside edge of my big toe has about an extra half inch of tough skin from all the cuts back and forth. Where did you play? I recently got to play with Andy Rautins agin (son of Leo Rautins, drafted by the Knicks), havn't seen him since we were teenagers. He's rollin in the money now! Damn where did I go wrong? ha ha ha.

11:29 a.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Jake,

 

My first year of college I attended the University of Connecticut before changing majors (which hiked up my tuition, so I moved back in-state).

 

Obviously UCONN is nearly the professional level, so I didn't play there, but instead I did a short stint with a practice squad there, which required try-outs and was a way for the players to bang around and get a good run in without having to play against each other.

 

I transferred and played for a while at a small Division 3 school, but quit when the program was terrible and I came to the startling realization that my future would be in something other than hoops.  :-)

12:19 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Ha ha ha, it's a sad day that a man needs to admit he's not gonna go pro. On the bright side when I have kids, one day down the road, I'll be able to make it sound a lot better then I actually was! UCONN is a great basketball school. You must have been impressed with their run last March (I'm making a safe bet your still a basketball fan), or do you have a bitter Huskies taste left in your mouth? Unfortunatly I bleed DUKE blue (from my Dad). Now there's a basketball school! (j/k)

2:42 p.m. on August 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I am still a fan of them and follow them. When I was there, nearly 70% of the existing team went pro. It was incredible to share a campus with them, see them around classes, see them at dinner, or in the gym.

7:31 a.m. on August 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Being a fan?  OK.

A jock-sniffer?   Hmmm ....

                                                        ~r2~

12:11 p.m. on August 5, 2011 (EDT)
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clarify for me...seeing them around campus as I go about my own business, and thinking that's cool, makes me a jock sniffer?

 

it's not possible to grasp inflection from typed information, so maybe you were joking?

7:25 a.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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Quasi  (joking).

I abhor the 'suckin' up' to celebrities of ALL sorts, as if they are above mere mortals.

I have been / still am  ... involved in a couple pursuits ( namely, athletics and the music biz ), wherein I have been with or worked with  (not just "seeing them around") ...  many, many 'famous people' / celebrities of many descriptions.   Some were / are the most prominent people on the planet.  

Let's just say, I have "connections" ....

I hate to be a "name-dropper", but I'll throw out a few:  Joe Biden, Eric Clapton, Chris Botti, Julie Andrews, Christie Brinkley, Martha Stewart, Mario Andretti, Bernie Casey, George Benson,  Philipe Pomar.

Some are now deceased, including Paul Newman, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a couple of the original "BeachBoys", Danny Gatton (a dear friend), Dizzy Gillespie.

Perhaps (?)  you have heard of a few of these people .... but, probably not Pomar, who was a fellow-surfing buddy, and World Champion.

The "COMMON THREAD" I might mention ... is that I came to know some of these people at a personal-level.   More than just a few times, they have commented to me ... more-or-less saying, "Robert -- one of the reasons I like you, is you NEVER talk about what I do for a living ... unike almost everyone else does.   You treat me like a NORMAL PERSON".

A few (like Paul Newman)  thought it odd  ( I ignored him, although I was around him often ... and, he didn't care for the fact his wife liked to talk with me).   Biden didn't like my referencing his brother's drug-influenced past  ("Jimmy The Junkie" ... was a dealer) ... and Joe had his criminal records expunged.   Joe's former law-partner was my lawyer, and we have chatted a bit at private parties ( years ago ), but NOT about politics.

NEVER been a "jock-sniffer".   On-the-contrary.   A couple former world-class athletes (All-Americans at the college-level ... one All-Pro at professional-level) ... a professional  body-builder) ...  have asked ME how I manage to stay in-shape.   (They have not managed that very well).

I just never thought much of this was "cool".   Just the way "LIFE" has evolved.  Probably much like it has for a lot of people.  I am not any different.

My comments in the Trailspace thread are NOT personal attacks.   But, simply my attitudes.

I think you will agree --- I am entitled to that.   Much as you are entitled to your's.

                                               

                                                      ~r2~

11:01 p.m. on August 6, 2011 (EDT)
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attitudes differ from everyone, let's just be sure to remember no one attitude is the "right" one, even though people frequently think their own personal one is.

3:03 a.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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I have gone through this problem too!  After learning the hard way and listening to my climbing instructors when I was a kid, for prevention is to wear two pairs of soxs-one will never do!  I hiked all the way around the 3 Sisters with 11 water blisters in 1973 at age 13, because I wanted to 'experiment' with one pair and see what happened.  Well I paid for it!  This will absorb the friction against the foot by putting the friction on the second pair.  I never had any trouble with blisters with 2 pair-ever.  Hope this will help!  So even two thin pair will do.  I used cotton, even though there is probably thin wool out there now.  But if you have good boots, you won't have to worry much about feet getting wet, unless you are going wading.  I also enjoyed a hike around and over the Tetons with two pairs of soxs-no problems.  Have Fun!

3:13 a.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Ahhhh, socks n liners. I believe this is not needed if your boots fit properly. Blisters are generated by friction. On the heels friction is generated by heel lift. If you have a pair of boots that fit properly you will not have a large amount of heel lift.

For instance with my Scarpa SL M3s I wear one pair of socks. I have been using Dahlgren Backpacker socks and I have to say I really like them. They are a wool/alpaca blend. They retain their loft very well even after days on the trail. I have very minimal play in the heel of my boots. I have not had a problem with blisters. 

Sock wise I also believe loft retention has a bit to do with whether or not ya end up with chopped beef for feet. If your socks lose their loft the fit and protection levels are altered not to mention the heat generated from friction is greater and your heels will take a greater pounding. 

9:12 a.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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I wear only one pair as well. I have tried 2, and didn't get any blisters but didn't like the way it felt. One pair of good merino wool socks and a proper boot/insole combo- all I need. I think a lot of times people buy the wrong boot for their foot. For whatever reason- affordability, looks, sometimes people just buy a pair of boots based on it's name. I know Rick you just got a new pair of scarpa's, I personally tried them on and hated them. I'm sure they are a great boot as everyone I've heard loves their pair, they just aren't right for my foot. Try on everything you can get your hands on! There are probably 10-15 quality, maybe more, bootmakers with different fits. I have  Zamberlan. Swear by them. Thats said Rick probably wouldn't like the fit as we clearly have different shaped feet.

2:05 p.m. on August 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Jake W said:

I wear only one pair as well. I have tried 2, and didn't get any blisters but didn't like the way it felt. One pair of good merino wool socks and a proper boot/insole combo- all I need. I think a lot of times people buy the wrong boot for their foot. For whatever reason- affordability, looks, sometimes people just buy a pair of boots based on it's name. I know Rick you just got a new pair of scarpa's, I personally tried them on and hated them. I'm sure they are a great boot as everyone I've heard loves their pair, they just aren't right for my foot. Try on everything you can get your hands on! There are probably 10-15 quality, maybe more, bootmakers with different fits. I have  Zamberlan. Swear by them. Thats said Rick probably wouldn't like the fit as we clearly have different shaped feet.

 Thats one of the reasons I am so hesitant on the whole boot recommendation thing. Fit is individual. I do not have a problem commenting on durability, how well the footwear is manufactured, blah blah blah. 

Then we have the whole FGL vs Gore-tex thing...(hope I didn't start this discussion again lol.)

Jake, Zamberlan makes a very good boot. Just as you stated the last does not work with my feet. Then again I am kinda built like a spider monkey. :)

6:58 a.m. on August 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:


Then we have the whole FGL vs Gore-tex thing... hope I start this discussion again

 

I really was hoping you would.

                                                     ~r2~

6:45 p.m. on October 10, 2011 (EDT)
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I have gone back to my old fave KEEN's and had a great time. I do, prophylacticly, wear a cloth bandage on each heal now just in case. But since you all have brought it up, I do find it difficult to get my lacing just right so my foot is stable in the bed and not sliding. The toe bax is right for my foot and the size is right now. But I find the tops loosening enough during the hike that I am slamming on the way down to some degree. Yesterday, this was the case and was hard for me to adjust out on the trail. It was not bad enough to kill my toe nail like last time this happened. The boots fit that much better for me than the ASOLO's did.

7:11 p.m. on October 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Good deal giftogab. As long as they work for you that is all that matters.

Have you by any chance seen the Keen Erickson PCT? While this may be a bit late an all leather boot may very well be a better alternative for your trip while still retaining the fit that you like. Plus the metal hardware(lacing system) may also be beneficial for the terrain you are going to encounter on your trip. Just a thought.

Here is a link:

http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/product/fw11/shoes/men/trailhead/erickson%20pct

Another potential problem(I also mentioned this to Keen) is if you notice on the Oregon there is an exposed heel lockdown strap. If this were to get torn from a rock(I have heard of this happening) the boots are pretty much shot being the lacing pulls below the lace lock(4th down from the top) would totally detach from the boot. 

This would in turn leave your feet flopping around in the boot because there is no way to lace the most vital(imo) area of the footwear. Not only would this make for unstable travelling but it would also most certainly cause massive blistering from friction. 

Just wanted to throw that out there.

9:42 p.m. on October 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick Thanks. I will look into the Erickson. It isn't too late. I bout two pair of Oregon, but could pick up the Ericksons and bring a pair of Oregons for back up.

2:49 a.m. on October 11, 2011 (EDT)
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giftogab said:

..It was not bad enough to kill my toe nail...

 The only time boots injured my toe nail was when they we too small.  I exchanged for 1/2 size larger and the problem went away.  (I assume you are otherwise properly fitted and laced.)

Ed

7:17 a.m. on October 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Better 1/2 size large, than 1/2 size small.

~ r2 ~

10:39 a.m. on October 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert...Yes, I wore small boots for some time and then figured it out. These are bigger but I was not laced well. On the former boots, I lost nails. This was just that I loosened up too much and couldn't seem to get it edjusted after that on the way down. I will have to find a place that is selling the Erickson because it does not come in women's so will need to fit the mens and don't know what size that would be.

11:07 a.m. on October 11, 2011 (EDT)
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giftogab- I am not sure how hard it will be to find the Erickson on shelves where you are. I have yet to see it around here. Then again, I don't look too closely at the selections around here. I have put my boot shopping on a hiatus for awhile. 

Maybe you could contact Keen and give them your size in the Oregon and they can do the conversion? I personally feel that noone would know better than the manufacturer. As always just a thought. 

Here is the Keen contact page/phone number if you are interested in exploring this option:

http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/customer_service.aspx

If you look at the sole/midsole design on the Erickson it utilizes the same structure as the Oregon PCT. 

I do not think you would have much trouble(if any) finding a pair that will fit you. 

12:45 p.m. on October 11, 2011 (EDT)
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Checking now.

4:48 p.m. on October 13, 2011 (EDT)
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I think I learned this the hard way....but the Asolos were actually sized better than my former keens....thing is, they were simply not the right shape for my feet. Lacing and fitting is also something I need to address more and one of the guys here is helping me with a boot fitter so that I can ensure any problems are cleared up before I leave in March for Nepal.

 

Just an aside....not sure what all that hijacking about the long list of famouse people but I did find it interesting a person would generate such a long list of names to drop under the guise of not being a name dropper.....jsut sayin' ;)

3:51 p.m. on December 10, 2011 (EST)
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Im new here and do winter solo 1 and 2 day hikes for distance and to complete all the marked trails in an area as a goal.  I would like to start doing some longer hikes .I recently started to get a blister on my heels and i put a couple of layers of duct tape over my base layer poly sock then put my heavy smartwool sock over and the problem was solved. not only did the blister stop hurting it also healed up while i hiked. the down side was i ruined a $9 pair of socks.

4:17 p.m. on December 10, 2011 (EST)
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Hey jock, welcome to Trailspace. Glad to have ya around. 

Ahhh yes, duct tape. Some great stuff. Definitely should be in your kit. So many uses. It can definitely be a difference maker. 

Some may doubt this but I always like to tell people one of my vehicles was primarily made of duct tape. Although I hid it well. ;)

12:30 p.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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Hey Rick, post a photo of that beast.

12:33 p.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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Oh that thing has long passed. It was an 85 ford Bronco(full size) that we stuffed a 460 into. It was for 4 wheeling(mud pits) back in the day. 

12:48 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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ya know this happened to me once. Blisters till they bled

 

turns out that somewhere down the line my feet had grown and the shoes I was wearing that gave me the blisters were  too dang small.

I was wearing an 8 and my foot measured at a 10

 

Have your feet properly measured

1:17 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Ed G said:

ya know this happened to me once. Blisters till they bled

 

turns out that somewhere down the line my feet had grown and the shoes I was wearing that gave me the blisters were  too dang small.

I was wearing an 8 and my foot measured at a 10

 

Have your feet properly measured

 A big +1 on this. I am now looking for new shoes and boots as I used to wear 8 and somehow, someway I'm now a 9.5. Freaky.

4:17 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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Patman said:

 I used to wear 8 and somehow, someway I'm now a 9.5. Freaky.

 T-T-T- Toes... :)

1:24 a.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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Certainly, moleskin is the classical answer as to what to do about blisters. Regarding boot or shoe fit, this has been discussed elsewhere on Trailspace. In brief, everyone has differently shaped feet. Finding a boot that fits you well, can be very much trial and error, which is why there are still custom boot makers. Modern synthetic boots require less break in than the older style all leather boot.

Besides fit, lacing is another factor. Many mountain boots have a hook system for at least some of the lacing. Some of those hooks, having a sharp edge in them to allow you to, for instance, lace the part above your instep tightly, while leaving the vertical part of the lacing above your ankle more loose. This latter helps when flat footing on glaciers, etc.

1:40 a.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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11:46 a.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for posting this Rick. Your references are more helpful for a broader range, as most Trailspace readers won't have mountain boots with the catch type of lacing hook.

12:03 p.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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My feet have grown and shrank over the years depending on weight and use. FIXING YOUR FEET was a book suggested to me by BillS and it has already proved to be an invaluable part of my library. It is kept with my Mountaineering bible. (also learned about by me here at Trail Space.) This truly is a site that is well worth every click!

12:20 p.m. on December 23, 2011 (EST)
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I've used bodyglide to great effect for preventing blisters.  It's a very persistent lubricant that reduces friction on skin. It's amazing stuff.  A little chunk applied to my heels prevents blisters for days, even through sock changes, stream crossings, etc...

4:43 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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With all the wonderful advice and my very own copy of FIXING YOUR FEET, I went on a steep hike last Sunday. I was out of my prep stuff for the heels but went anyway. I could tell I was getting blisters. I got one on each heal but not as bad as the ones that generated this thread back when I joined.  The boots I was wearing are great, but my lacing lacked for the descent. I got home and knew I had a couple bruises. But again, seemed so much less involved than the last time this all happened. Five days later, I have four or five nails telling me that they may be vacating their nail beds for greener pastures. I finally got the right big toe to start draining and hope that will prevent loss. Two others are draining too and I ordered a nail drill to take on the trip. I also ordered about a year worth of heel prep. Gonna get some glide and some special tape and tincture to add to the foot care kit as well. I knew better. But I wanted that summit and then the way down I was in a hurry because it was dark and didn't stop and re-lace. I better get myself together if I don't want to wreck my feet before my trip!

5:06 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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giftogab said:

..I got home and knew I had a couple bruises. But again, seemed so much less involved than the last time this all happened. Five days later, I have four or five nails telling me that they may be vacating their nail beds for greener pastures...

If you are getting black and blue nails, that generally indicates your boots are too small. You might consider using different footwear, since this type of injury can take some time to heal, and can become an issue on your Everest trip.

Ed

7:04 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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Sounds to me it would be well worth your while, time and expense, to get over here to the Marmot Mountain Works shop in Berkeley before they close down completely Mar 18 and have Paul do either a modification of your boots or get a new pair. The bruising and the blackening of toenails indicates there is a serious misfitting of the boots, as Ed indicates. I sent you the phone number, I think. At least give him a call and discuss the problem.

As I always state in the 50-miler training course I teach for Boy Scout adult leaders:

Blisters and minor injuries account for far more abandoned trips than do major disasters!

It would be a real tragedy to get over to Nepal, set off on your trek, and 2 or 3 days in, have to get evacuated and head home with blistered, bleeding feet, capped with black nails.

Expensive, yes, but is it better to spend 2 or 3 travel days and a few hundred bucks (including the cost of new, properly fitting boots) or to chance having an evacuation and abandoning the trip plus the hassle of getting the travel insurance people to pay off and still losing the cost of the flight and guide service (as I have found when I had to do a change of plans due to a political situation which closed the airport, the travel insurance people have built in plenty of loopholes to avoid paying off).

"Oh, you had blisters before from your boots? Sounds like a pre-existing condition! Claim denied!"

7:20 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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I hear you BillS. Gonna look into it now.

7:37 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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Called over to Berkley and they don't suggest coming. They told me to go try superfeet in the boots and get the tincture of benzoine. They said they would not do more than that anyway and that the fitter does not work weekends so no sense in coming. I will go in and see about the superfeet tomorrow.  Also may pick up another pair even another size larger. Feet swelling may make the 9.5's too tight at altitude......how would I know how my feet will react at altitude?

8:45 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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Oh! Didn't realize you weren't using footbeds (other than the "placekeeper" ones the manufacturers put in during shipping). Yes, try Superfeet. I use them in all my boots. Remember that there are several different "colors" (coding for different characteristics). The "green" are the ones most people find work well for hiking, although there is a slightly more cushioned one ("copper") recently introduced. 

The benzoine is to hold the moleskin, Spenco 2nd Skin, or whatever protective cover you are putting on the hotspots before the blisters develop.

I assume  (wrongly?) that you are using a thin wicking sock inside a thicker insulating/cushioning sock (merino wool from SmartWool or FITS).

The blacktoe may just come from your foot sliding forward in the boot. This can be minimized by proper lacing. The toe box should allow room for your toes to wriggle. The lacing from just over the arch to just above the arch should be a lock-lace (backward half-hitch on each hook) and fairly tight to hold the heel in place (the heel cup of the Superfeet helps also holding the heel in place). The top lace should also be hooked with a lock-lace, but can be a little looser to allow your ankle to flex forward with each step.

As Ed noted about the toes hitting the end of the boot, this might be because the boot is too short (should be a couple finger thicknesses from the end). One way to judge this is to put your foot into the fully unlaced boot without socks and slide your foot all the way forward until the toes touch the end. Then stick your fingers into the boot behind the heel. There should be 1.5 to 2 fingers space behind the heel.

If you do go to get new boots, do the fitting at the end of the day - people's feet tend to swell  after a full day of walking, and yes, your feet will swell at altitude - very common.

8:55 p.m. on February 17, 2012 (EST)
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Bill: I use a thin liner for wicking and an REI hiking sock over it. I went to a larger boot last July because, in fact, I was wearing a boot too small. I do know my two issues re the toes this hike were: Need to trim shorter nails and need to lace as you suggest. It was dark and I just kept going. I could kick the back of my boot and feel my heel slide back into the heel cup. So I know the length is there but the lacing wasn't. Just laced right up the boot with no special lacing and they loosened on the rigerous down hill. The blisters were simply I did not employ the preventative measures I learned in FIXING YOUR FEET. I can wriggle my toes well in the toe box. Both long enough and wide enough for good wriggling.

10:18 a.m. on February 19, 2012 (EST)
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Went to REI and took both pair of boots with me. Feet are still swollen so that was helpful. Fitted the PINK and the GREEN. The green have a much more assertive arch than I can tolerate so got the pink. Spent a good amount of time "one the rock" (that little fake rock in the shoe section of REI) and tried to jam my toes up against the end. The fit was so much better and there was no problem. So I am confident at this point that attention to lacing and other preventative steps for blisters will keep in in good shape. As for the toes? I am on day 8 and of the six toes that ended up involved, all but two seem to be safe. One of the two remaining is doing well and I think there is still hope for it. The Last is the big toe of my right foot and it is though not swollen this AM, I am not out of the woods with it yet.

1:39 a.m. on February 20, 2012 (EST)
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I've herd of thru-hikers purposely removing their nails/nailbeds to make walking more comfortable in the long run. (I imagine it would be quite painful in the...short run?)

I'd actually like to have this done? Yes the question mark is there on purpose. I've lost a toenail or two over the years, but they've always grown back...anyways, I'm off to start a new thread about removing one's toenails in order to facilitate a more enjoyable backcountry experience...

9:02 a.m. on February 20, 2012 (EST)
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Gift, so sorry to hear about your ongoing foot troubles. I Have yet to find a boot/fit/insole combination that provides a complete lack of foot  soreness at the end of a ten+ mile day. But I am also still carrying around an extra 20+ lbs from my sedentary college years, which I think is complicating matters. 

I have learned to stop immediately when I feel my boots are loosening up, or if I feel a hot spot, displaced sock, etc. The few minutes to readjust, attend to a hot spot, change/adjust socks, etc, will save so much time and pain later.

9:48 a.m. on February 20, 2012 (EST)
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Gonz: I am still carrying more than that and as far as general foot pain, not too bad. I know what to do now...STOP and re-lace. I also got some good lacing techniques that I will employ as well. Add the super feet and the preventative measures for heel blisters and I think things will be minimized. This was 6 miles and my feet (bones and muscles) felt ok at the end. I also have a good kit assembled for if things happen on the trek. I have worked what ended up being 6 black toes over pretty well and looks like not a nail will be gone in the end. Another factor was that I had painted toe nails and thought they were shorter than they were. That played a HUGE part in what happened. Going to get a pedicure. My nail lady gonna buff up my feet and give a hiker clip on the nails just before I go. No paint to I can monitor them over the course of the trip and clip them down. Especially before the descent.


boots.jpg

boots headed to REI for superfeet!

9:23 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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Karen,

You mentioned a toenail drill above, implying it is a special drill that your professional toe-and-fingernail shop uses and sells. What is so special about it and where does one shop for such things?

Reason I ask is that in the dirtbag climbing circles I run in, the technique is to just take a paper clip or a sewing needle, heat it, and let the heated pointy thing "melt" (more like burn) its way through the nail in 2 or 3 places. Or, some people just use a tiny regular metal drill bit (dipped in alcohol, peroxide, or white vinegar for a while - don't want to heat a perfectly good drill bit, since it will lose its temper) and spin it between one's fingers. Either way, it does hurt, and if the buildup under the nail is at all large, you can get a geyser when you break through.

Doesn't seem to prevent later fungus growth under the nail, though (that stuff advertised on TV that kills the weird-looking critters doesn't work for anyone I know - tea tree oil works better).

9:32 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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@OGBO- I found this:

I personally may start carrying my 18v DeWalt. 



9:51 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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RICK: That is not the one I got...I got a medical grade one shown below.

OGBO: I know that I am over the top on this, but wanted one that was made for holding between the fingers and drilling and that was sturdy enough to keep in my kit with confidence that it would not be broken in half if the pack fell etc. Having had to deal with 6 toes this time around, seems like a good thing to have on hand. One of my toes, however, is not responding well to draining and the drill is no here yet AND the redness at the cuticles and into the meat of the tow is concerning me. May have to seek professional attention later this week. I want time for healing and hiking before I leave.


nail.jpg

10:33 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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giftogab said:

.. My nail lady gonna.. ..give a hiker clip on the nails just before I go...

You might consider maintaining a hiker clip length/shaped nail at least two weeks before your departure.  Significant change to toe nails takes the skin around the nail awhile to adapt to.  If you do a big clip then traipse off into the boonies, you may end up with an ingrown nail.

Ed

11:13 p.m. on February 21, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks Ed.....if you could see them now, they are way short. I had to chop em all down when I crushed them on Black Mountain. So I will be keeping them all pretty short even before I go in for the final pedi.  6 are either black or some shade between black and yellow/grey. The right big toe is worrying me. May head to doc for that one tomorrow....if the area around the nail remains angry and red....fearing some infection there.

4:22 p.m. on February 23, 2012 (EST)
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i can't speak to healing - the best way to heal this stuff is to stay off of it as much as you can.  you don't want to go trekking in Nepal with an infection potentially festering - it isn't a place anyone would call clean or germ-free.  (i assume you are carrying a few courses of some broad-spectrum antibiotic in your first aid as a precaution....)

also, no substitute for shoes that, when laced, really lock your foot into the heel on a solid downhill.  feet sliding forward is the major cause of black toenails (subungual hematomas).  

a couple of pre-emptive measures to consider:

-some people find better blister relief by using toe socks as liners (eg from injinji).

-vaseline or some kind of lanolin-based ointment, liberally smeared on your toes before you put your socks on, goes a long way toward avoiding blisters.  when i was running marathons, this saved my feet.

-changing socks during a mid-day break like lunch to a fresh pair can make a difference if moisture is a contributing factor.  smear more vaseline or ointment, too.   

4:22 a.m. on February 24, 2012 (EST)
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giftogab said:

...if the area around the nail remains angry and red....fearing some infection there.

Yea, see the doc.  Foot infections are more difficult to manage when we get older.

I used Epsom salts to help recover from frost injuries on my feet.  The salt sterilizes the area as well as desiccates the wound.

Ed

10:38 a.m. on February 24, 2012 (EST)
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Ed...the red was far reduced in teh morning, though more nail was whit, which clipped back easily. I did soak in mint epsom that night and it appears no infection took hold. I ahve been very careful in that regard if for no other reason than the reason's ledbelly sites above. I have a good kit put together that I assembled from teh FIXING YOUR FEET book I got a while back. I am hiking tomorrow to see how teh heels are doing but will have my Superfeet installed and lace much better. Short hike to test all that, my healing feet and my SPOT connect on the trail. :)

6:02 p.m. on February 24, 2012 (EST)
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Fixing a blister is a last resort. I got one once, but I haven't had any since in over 30 years of mountain hiking. Blisters are caused by friction, and if your foot can't slide inside the boot and rub against the inside, there won't be any friction. Therefore a boot that is too loose will give you blisters.

By buying boots that fit your foot and by taking the time to break them in properly, you should never get blisters. Note that Asolos, Vasque, Zamberlane and other European boots tend to be narrower, while Keens are wider than normal. If you are comfortable in Keens, why would you switch to a much tighter boot? 

You might want to look at boots like Salomon Quest 4D, where the laces above and below the ankle can be separately tightened on the lace locks. That lets you have the toe box looser, and have the ankle still tight enough to stop your foot from slipping into the toes on a downhill.

9:59 a.m. on February 25, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks Peter....I was trying out different boots. I just wanted to be sure about my boots because frankly, I was getting some negative feedback about the keen's quality. Even now, their stickiness on rock like going up half dome is in question. That was months ago now. I love the Keens and am sticking with them, just making adjustments.

7:32 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi Seth

I'm guessing you can't use "bodyglide" AND preventative tape, it would be one or the other ? Also, where do you buy bodyglide?

7:44 a.m. on April 5, 2012 (EDT)
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This thread is really freaking me out!! Not so much as when I made the mistake of doing a search for "Blisters" on youtube though!! EEEEOOOOOGH.

A couple of people have mentioned  "hikers cut" toenail styling... can anyone elaborate?

Also, re. preventative taping, I find it REALLY difficult to remove the tape without removing skin, especially on the soles of the feet (sometimes tape the underside of the balls of my feet with athletic tape - leukotape type products). One thing that works is Eucalyptus oil. I rub the oil along the tape where it meets the skin as I keep gently pulling and usually manage not to lose too much bark - the oil dissolves the glue on the tape. But you have to be patient and bothered to carry it with you, as well!! I've never had serious blisters yet, but I'm a bit of a nanny with my feet and tape at the first sign of reddening...

2:26 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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The time to tape is after the first mile or so and you find a 'hot spot' on its way to becoming a blister.  Duct tape seems to work well for most.  And you can leave it on until it wants to come off a week later after a shower.  Well, unless it gets wrinkles and causes chaffing or something definitely is amiss beneath the tape.

I have not had blister problems in decades.  But I think that is more to just paying more attention to boot fit and being a sissy about hotspots.

And the toes have to have enough room in the toe box to almost play a piano in there.

10:33 a.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Donna. The book OGBO suggested is just the ticket. It is called FIXING YOUR FEET. I have now completed my trek and have had no issues because I used proper tape and trimmed appropriately.  My boots fit and I got one tiny weird blister that was handled instantly with the skills acquired from the aforementioned book. I used the glide under any tape or bandage I used. Remember, the glue on any type of adhesive on the tape will potentially move. The glide prevents it pulling the skin. Tincture is used as well, for that purpose. If you intend to put your feet through duress, I strongly suggest getting the book and meeting your feet. :)

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