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everything u wanted 2 know about blisters

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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aka The Gipper

Joined: 10 June 2003
Location: Chinook Montana
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    Posted: 09 May 2005 at 10:54


most blisters are caused by new or poorly-fitting boots. they usually develop over the toes, the front of the foot and the heel, because the skin in these areas is thick and tough, and bound down to the underlying bone. as your foot slides back and forth inside your boot, friction on the skin surface can produce a callus or corn. when friction acts within the skin, shearing forces produce small clefts within the skin. fluid then flows into these clefts, producing a blister.

if your boots are too loose in the instep, you will get "downhill blisters on your toes and the front of your feet as your foot slides forward while hiking downhill. you may get "uphill blisters" on the heel or over the achilles tendon while climbing steep trails.

you can always count on your feet to get hot and moist when you do an extensive amount of walking, and a hot, slightly moist foot is a blister waiting to happen. a thin layer of moisture causes your socks to adhere more tightlyto your skin and increases friction within the skin. when your feet are soaked or dry, there is less friction between the socks and feet, and less risk of blistering.

walking on blistered feet is about as much fun as walking barefoot across a bed of hot coals. well-placed blister can severely reduce your mobility and put a real crimp on your day outdoors. a neglected or improperly-treated blister can become ulcerated and infected, and spawn a rapidly-spreding skin infection.

your aim in treating a blister should be to keep your foot comfortable, promote rapid healing, and prevent infection. here are some recommendations for treating blisters in the wilderness:

a "hotspot" is a red, tendeer area; a blister in the making. never ignore a hotspot; cover it immediately with a bandage, a piece of smooth, thin tape, or a hydrogel dressing, such as SPenco 2nd skin or Vigilon.

if the roof of the blister is torn, use scissors and tweezers to remove all of the dead skin and treat the wound as an abrasion. cleanse i with diluted hydrogen peroxide, antiseptic solution or soapy water and cover it with Polysporin or bacitracin and a bandage twice daily until it heals.

if the roof of the blister is nearly intact, don't remove it. it serves as a comfortable, infection-resistant biological dressing, and the blister will heal faster if its roof reattaches to its base. cleanse the blister as described above, then apply a layer of antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage, or a strip of tape, if that's all you have. if you have a hydrogel dressing in your medical kit, strip the cellophane off both sides of an approximate-sized piece, apply it to the blister, and cover with the adhesive knit bandage provided. moisten the hydrogel dressing through the bandage several times a day, and leave it in place until the blister heals. check the wound in three days. remove any dead skin, and reapply the bandage for three more days.

if the blister is intact, drain it so that the roof can reattach to the underlying skin. fitst, cleanse the area with Betadine, Hibiclens, alcohol or soap and water. thenm puncture the edge of the blister with a sterile hypodermic needle or a pin that has been sterilized in rubbing alcohol, or held in an open flame until the tip is red-hot. gently press on the blister to express the fluid, then apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage. puncture the blister three times within the first 24 hours, or one every 24-36 hours after the blister forms.

if the blister starts to drain cloudy fluid or pus, the surrounding skin becomes red swollen and tender, or you see red streaks extending from your foot, infection has set in. NEVER TAKE ANY FOOT INFECTION LIGHTLY! stay off your feet, keep the infected foot elevated above heart level, and soak it in warm, oapy water every four hours. if you ahve antibiotics in your medical kit, start taking one that kills staph and strep bacteria (for example, dicloxacillin 250 mg, cephalexin 500mg, or erythromycin, 250 mg, every six hours). if the infection doesn't start to resolve within 24-36 hours, head home and see a physician immediately, especially if you develop fever or chills.



an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and the best way to prevent blisters is by reducing friction between your toes and your feet.

make sure your that boots fit well. shop for a new pair in the afternoon, when your feet are slightly swollen, and wear the socks that you plan to wear with the boots. walk around for a few minutes to see if they are comfortable, and make sure that there is a thumb's width of space between the tip of the longest toe and the end of the boot.

break new shoes in gradually by wearing them for a couple of hours the first day, then an additional hour each day thereafter until they are supple and fit your feet perfectly. if there are any loose or tight areas in either boot after you have worn them a few days, you can work the leather to make it more supple or apply a shoe insert or pad to tighten loose areas.

wear a combination of socks that will limit friction.

foot powder absorbs moisture and reduces friction by keeping your feet dry. apply it liberally at least twice a day. Drysol (20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate) abd ither antiperspirants inhibit sweating.

keep blister-prone areas covered with tape, moleskin, or petrolatum, and apply benzoin or alum powder to those areas to toughen the skin.

toughen up your feet and tune up your muscles and cardiovascular system a few weeks before a hunting, fishing or hiking trip by taking progressively longer walks in the boots you plan to wear during your sojurn into the wild.

TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2005 at 11:51

As a diabetic for the last 20 years, foot problems are very serious to me.  They could signal infection and the loss of a foot for me.  How could I kick those liberals asses without one foot?LOL

I always carry baby powder, you can't use too much.  I always carry moleskin, for after you have a problem.  they are in my pack in Alaska, Florida, Africa, and all states in between.  When you need help it is usually 1:30 am miles from a drug store.  The baby powder works great on the crotch too, on long hikes.Tongue

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rivet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2009 at 07:58
Excellent post Tas~ !!

Us former Infantry types know the importance of foot-maintenance.

Other than parachuting close to where I needed to go (and "close" is a relative word. "Close", on a map, can mean 12 hours of the most hellish terrain you can imagine carrying a Winnebago on your back) I spent my time being transported by LPC's .....otherwise known as "Leather-Personnel-Carriers"

We also call them boots.

Appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Good deal!
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