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[pct-l] Re: Comments about Blisters and Foot Care

Brian Robinson wrote about feet:

>…if blisters heal, they contribute to the "bullet proof" calluses all
successful thru hikers develop… 

You can develop blisters beneath calluses.  These deep blisters can become
more of a problem than a normal blister.  Many advocate keeping the skin
soft, treating cracked skin and calluses, in order to reduce the likelihood
of blisters.  There are creams which help soften dry and cracked skin.

>… if not, they become infected and will end your trip…

Any blister can become infected.  If the blister's roof is punctured or
torn, it becomes susceptible to infection.  All blisters should be watched
for signs of infection: redness, pus, pain, swelling, red streaks towards
the heart, or your getting a fever.  Using an alcohol wipe on the skin
before puncturing a blister, and an antibiotic ointment can help reduce the
chance of infection.

>…be careful if you drain them and never put moleskin directly over a
blister…it will slowly slide across the wound due to the high mileage and
tear off the skin.

There are many ways to treat a blister.  Moleskin, while the most common,
is not the best method of covering a blister.  There are several new
products which offer better healing and adhesive qualities: i.e., Compeed
and Spyroflex.  These can be placed directly over a blister and are left
for several days as the blister heals.  There are also ways to drain a
blister so additional fluid buildup is lessened.  If you still favor
moleskin, there are ways to use it over a blister where it will not stick
to the roof.

But then, how about learning how to reduce your chance for blisters by
educating yourself about the factors which contribute to blister
formation—and then avoiding them.  Better socks, taping your feet,
modifying shoes or boots, lubricants, powders, gaiters, etc., can all help
reduce the chance of your getting blisters.  

Brian said it well, "Figuring out what's wrong and fixing it is crucial to
recovery."  Important to that end is learning how to fix your feet.  Too
many hikers and other sports enthusiasts spend many hundreds of dollars on
packs and related gear, but fail to plan for problems with their feet.

My book FIXING YOUR FEET is one source of information about proper foot
care.  My research found many hiking books spend one or two pages on foot
care—mainly basics about blister fixing.  I respect their work, building on
what they say, as well as what experienced hikers, runners, and adventure
racers have found that works.  I invite any interested hikers to check out
my web site and view the tips and table of contents sections to appreciate
the depth of the book.

John Vonhof
Author:  FIXING YOUR FEET: Preventive Maintenance and Treatments for Foot
Problems of Runners, Hikers, and Adventure Racers.
http://www.footworkpub.com (check out the book here)
Race Director:  Ohlone Wilderness 50KM Trail Run

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