Moleskin

12:35 p.m. on May 23, 2016 (EDT)
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A healthy walk this weekend brought me to this topic.  I went about 7 1/2 miles along a fairly non-bumpy trail, so i wore chacos instead of low hikers/boots.  figured everything was going to get wet anyway, so i opted for footwear that wouldn't care.

before i went out, and because it's early season (not much chaco-wearing in the winter), i cut pieces of moleskin and put them on high-friction areas in advance.  each side of the ball of each foot, 2 pieces at points along the ankle strap, one across the achilles.  

moleskin, in case you haven't used it before, has a smooth/fuzzy outer face, a very light bit of cushion to it, and a very sticky backside to help prevent it from coming off when it gets rubbed.  only one of the pieces i applied came off during my hike; it's important to apply moleskin to dry feet before you get out; putting it on when your feet are already damp/sweaty almost guarantees it will come off earlier than you would like.  it helps to have a pair of bandage/utility scissors so you won't accidentally punch a hole in a backpack - they have a blunt/not pointy end.  

i have had success with some kinds of clear surgical tape for the same purpose, but i think it tends to get pulled off easier.  

i have not tried liquid bandage products, but they might be a good alternative if properly applied.

as it turned out, the moleskin worked...but i neglected one area, the pads of my toes.  the water and friction from hiking left me with blisters under 4 of my toes.  not sure if applying moleskin or alternative would have addressed that or not.  normally, into the summer when my feet have toughened up a little, that wouldn't have been an issue.  

1:19 p.m. on May 23, 2016 (EDT)
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I've carried the pre-cut Adventure Medical Kits sheets for years in my FAK. Most of the time I forget it is there until I need it and then I'm glad to have it along. The cushioning ability is great for nursing blisters that have already formed. I've had some pieces come off after just a day or less while others stayed in place for several days depending on where on the foot it was.

For prevention I think cloth surgical tape works better. It stays on better and the external side slides over other surfaces better than moleskin. Tape actually works well for the toe pad issue you mention because you can easily wrap it around them individually and it will stay in place.

6:48 p.m. on May 23, 2016 (EDT)
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I've carried moleskin for 35 years.  Can't hump a ruck in the Army wearing Army boots and not know of it.

7:35 p.m. on May 23, 2016 (EDT)
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I have used moleskin, medical/surgical tape and duct tape. All have been relatively successful depending if I was treating a hot spot, looming blister, or four day open one. Also depends on how dirty and sweaty the feet are, and the exact area of the foot needing treatment. I now carry a small assortment of these for longer trips, and sometimes forego the moleskin and med tape for short trips unless it is on rough pounding terrain or going to be extremely wet. My need has decreased over the years due to the improvement of footwear.

6:10 a.m. on May 24, 2016 (EDT)
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I use Leukotape for preventing blisters, moleskin for after a blister has formed.

3:29 a.m. on May 25, 2016 (EDT)
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Duct tape with some TP as padding when moleskin falls short.

10:50 a.m. on May 25, 2016 (EDT)
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so JR, what is the story with leukotape? i have read about it - very sticky adhesive, so it tends to stay stuck.  where do you get it? any downsides to using it?

8:54 p.m. on May 25, 2016 (EDT)
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It's great stuff, I got it off Amazon I think. Yes, it stays stuck even when wet. It's thin and very flexible, so it molds to the curves of your foot and stays put. The idea is that if there's a spot that's rubbing it will rub on the Leukotape rather than your skin. I cut pieces in various sizes, with corners rounded off, and put them on backing paper and they go in the FAK so I'm not carrying a whole roll and it's ready when I need it.

Downside? The only one I see, and when I've posted this before others have said you can work around it, but you only want to use it in a spot before a blister forms. If you put sticky Leukotape on top of an existing blister then it will adhere very well to the skin on top of the blister, and then when you take the tape off the bond is much stronger than the skin itself and you can rip the top of the blister off and it will continue to pull up healthy skin. Ask me how I know.

Another good use for Leukotape is to hold moleskin in place, which I find sticks pretty well but can loosen after walking on it for a while. So, the moleskin I cut out a donut to place around a blister and Leukotape over top of that to hold it in place.

12:09 p.m. on May 26, 2016 (EDT)
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I've mentioned it before...you can prevent Leukotape from sticking to existing blisters by simply sticking two pieces of Leukotape together so that there is a non-sticky area to place over your blister. 

9:29 a.m. on May 27, 2016 (EDT)
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Moleskin and Leukotape tend to come unstuck on my feet after application.  Here are some things I have learned that help keep it in place.

-Clean the area before applying.  Use alcohol hand sanitizing gel, alcohol wipe, alcohol from your fuel bottle, or soap and water.

-Let it dry thoroughly before applying.

-After applying, rub the moleskin or leukotape with your hand for 30 seconds or so.  This helps heat up the adhesive so it makes a good bond with your skin.

-If that doesn't work for you, you can apply tincture of benzoin after cleaning.  Let it dry until tacky.  Then apply your moleskin/leukotape and rub to heat up the adhesive.  You can buy tincture of benzoin at REI or most any drugstore.

I haven't tried it yet, but John Vonhoff (author of Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatment for Athletes, ultra runner and long time aid station worker for ultra running) has recommended StrenghtTape brand kinesiology tape for blister prevention because it stays on in wet environments.  I may have to get some next time I buy something from amazon.

11:03 a.m. on May 27, 2016 (EDT)
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On one of my first big hikes to Springer Mountain, GA, I developed horrible blisters on the back of my heels from wearing non-broken in Asolo boots. The only other pair of shoes I brought was a pair of Sanuks, which are obviously not meant for hiking, especially on rough, rocky terrain.

The blisters were so bad that continuing to wear the boots was not an option, but the Sanuks were pretty bad to do all of that hiking in, as well. When I got to the top of Springer, I met a thru-hiker and he told me about Moleskin, and gave me a patch. I was able to put my boots back on the whole rest of the hike with no problem. I was amazed! I'll never go out without Moleskin again.

5:49 p.m. on June 2, 2016 (EDT)
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I had a girl I let use some of my Moleskin in Yosemite many years ago ask, "Is Moleskin really from Mole's" Yes a climbing friend said they are raised just for their skin in the product! :)

12:53 p.m. on June 4, 2016 (EDT)
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P

12:55 p.m. on June 4, 2016 (EDT)
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two pints said:

Moleskin and Leukotape tend to come unstuck on my feet after application.  Here are some things I have learned that help keep it in place.

-Clean the area before applying.  Use alcohol hand sanitizing gel, alcohol wipe, alcohol from your fuel bottle, or soap and water.

-Let it dry thoroughly before applying.

-After applying, rub the moleskin or leukotape with your hand for 30 seconds or so.  This helps heat up the adhesive so it makes a good bond with your skin.

-If that doesn't work for you, you can apply tincture of benzoin after cleaning.  Let it dry until tacky.  Then apply your moleskin/leukotape and rub to heat up the adhesive.  You can buy tincture of benzoin at REI or most any drugstore.

I haven't tried it yet, but John Vonhoff (author of Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatment for Athletes, ultra runner and long time aid station worker for ultra running) has recommended StrenghtTape brand kinesiology tape for blister prevention because it stays on in wet environments.  I may have to get some next time I buy something from amazon.

Also to not high jack your post if I could add. 

On high abrasion areas I will put a l will do all of the above and cover it with a large 4 sided adhisive bandage. 

I have had great success doing this with clients. 

 

3:37 a.m. on June 19, 2016 (EDT)
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Here in Norway and elsewhere in Europe we can get a hydrocolloid thing called Compeed, that functions both as a cushion and a second skin. It's pretty expensive so I would still use Moleskin as my main preventative, but you can put it over a "live" blister and it really seems to help with both comfort and healing. It's super sticky and stays on a long time in my experience. Lately I've been using small Compeed plasters on callus/corns on the tops of my (hammer) toes with great success -- I get some toe rubs from some of my running shoes. When wrapped around the toe they stay on for days but seem to breathe well enough that it doesn't get too gross under there. Highly recommended.

I see that Johnson & Johnson distributes it in the US but I'm not sure how widely available it is -- the website says "only at Walgreens".

12:58 p.m. on June 19, 2016 (EDT)
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In response to Leukotape (which I like very much), there is a lifespan for the stuff. I have found after a couple of seasons, the adhesive begins to weaken, which can become a big problem. Needing to patch up a hiker on the AT earlier this year, I found my Leukotape to have lost all of its grip, where I had it stored on a water bottle. I also feel that it serves as an excellent preventative measure on heels for hikers that might develop a friction concern. 

BigRed, I'm going to try to track Compeed products down stateside, I'll be sure to let everybody know...

1:08 p.m. on June 20, 2016 (EDT)
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they sell compeed at walgreens, at least here in Maryland.  happens i bought a package a week ago to throw the small first aid kit with the moleskin and safety scissors.  haven't blistered yet though so haven't used them.  

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