Blister Prevention While Hiking
Hiking is becoming one of America’s favorite past times. It allows you to explore exciting new locales and see natural beauty while doing a wonderful thing for your body and mind. What happens however when problems arise? There are many injuries that you can sustain while hiking, one of the most common is a blister. A blister is not terribly dangerous, though if left untreated, it could become infected and require serious medical treatment. A blister occurs when your boot or sock rubs against your skin, causing friction and leading to a wearing away of the skin. It can occur for several reasons, shoes not fitting properly or needing to be broken in, socks that slip and even moisture on your feet.
Prevention, is as usual, the best medicine. It is extremely important to purchase good quality and properly fitting hiking boots for use whenever you head out on a trail. Consult with the salespeople to ensure that your boot fits properly and will offer the protection that your feet require. You may have heard that stiffer boots will provide better protection and will soften up as you wear them, they however may not be comfortable until they have been broken in. Why not find a pair that is comfortable from the moment you put it on and does not require a breaking in period. The next thing you will need is properly fitting socks.
Hiking socks have traditionally been made using silk, cotton and wool. However, new materials such as lycra, polyester and combinations of the above, are now being used and are often times better and providing cushion and dryness to your feet during long hikes. Try out a few brands and see which ones are most comfortable for you. If you stop at some point along your hike and feel the need to take off your boots (though its not advisable if you are only hiking for one day), make sure you rinse them and dry them thoroughly before putting your boots back on. You don’t want to have a pebble stuck in your sock, and you certainly don’t want to make them wetter then your natural sweat is already doing.
If you have a blister, treatment can be started out on the trail. Everything you need can be found in your first aid kit, a must for any outdoor sportsman. When you first notice that you are getting a blister, stop and take your boot off to examine your foot. You should clean and disinfect the area with alcohol or antibacterial cream. Once this has been done, you can pierce the blister near its base, horizontally with a sterilized needle. Gently squeeze the fluid out but do not remove the skin covering it (this is there for your own protection). You should then cover the area with a bandaid or moleskin to protect it from further damage. Once you return to civilization, clean the wound and treat it accordingly.
While preventing a blister is the best way to protect yourself, once you have one, your trip is not ruined. With proper treatment you will be able to finish out your hiking trip with little or no pain.
Sydney Garrison is an avid cyclist and sports enthusiast. She is also a partner in an online bike rack store.
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