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Dealing With Blisters - Tips For Hikers

Blisters can ruin a day's walk or, worse still, holiday. They are caused simply by friction between your skin and your sock but, happily, the risk can be minimised by choosing a good pair of socks to go with your comfy boots. Modern materials and manufacturing combined with more innovative designs that fit more snugly load the dice in favour of not falling prey to the nagging pain of blistered feet. As well as cushioning your feet, good socks avoid matting and bunching of the fabric by whisking sweat away leaving little opportunity for friction to wreak havoc on your comfort. Sadly, even with the combination of great boots and socks, grit, soft skin and poor lacing may result in blisters forming. Plus, of course, even the best boots will take in water if you wade through a stream. Socks are soaked and friction can develop quickly so it's wise to carry a spare pair. When you feel a hot spot developing, don't ignore it! Stop as soon as you can and take a look at the problem. Let your feet air off and give them the once-over with a cloth or small towel. If you find a blister, advice varies. Some recommend popping the blister at its base with a needle (disinfect it over a flame) to relieve the pressure from the fluid inside and covering the raised skin with a plaster or a 'moleskin' patch. An alternative is to buy a blister patch from a chemist that acts as a second skin over the affected area. Either way, don't be tempted to tear off the skin to leave the raw flesh exposed and at risk from infection. Clean feet, fresh socks designed for walking and well-fitting boots laced up securely all help to head off the problem developing at all.