The first blister probably occurred shortly after the first humans strapped something on their feet to protect them from primeval terrain. Today, the lowly foot blister has evolved into one of the most common injuries to hikers. The good news is that our knowledge about them has also evolved.
There are three keys to dealing with blisters:
Blisters can be caused by burns, allergies, skin conditions or even spider bites, but the most common culprit is friction. When you have enough friction in a focused spot, cell damage occurs. The serum (fluid) inside a blister helps protect and heal the damaged tissue. Red fluid found in a blood blister simply means that capillaries in the area of the blister have also been damaged.
Several factors make blisters more likely to happen:
Preventing blisters is all about awareness and vigilance. Once you know the factors that up your odds of getting blisters, your goal is to monitor and minimise those factors.
To prevent blisters, follow these guidelines:
To treat a blister, try one of the following options:
Molefoam with a doughnut hole: Cut a large enough hole for the blister; then the surrounding foam should keep your sock from rubbing and further irritating the area. For extra protection, you can add a layer of Moleskin or tape over everything.
Blister bandages with pads and gels: These add a protective layer to prevent a blister from getting worse. Pads provide cushioning; gels soothe the area by cooling it off.
Drain the blister, if necessary: In general, refrain from opening a blister to release the fluid: You’re creating a chance for infection and you’re removing the protection and healing that the serum provides. However, to drain a large blister that’s too painful to leave undrained, follow the steps below. If your blister pops on its own, then follow steps 4 and 5:
While it’s rare for a blister to get infected, it’s important to keep a close eye on it. Evacuate to get medical care if the following symptoms develop: redness, pain, pus or red streaks traveling toward the nearest lymph node.