Hiking Blisters

Hiking BlistersHiking Blisters can ruin a day outdoors.  I am sure that we have all been on a trail and felt that “hot spot” feeling on one of our feet.  At that time we either ignored it and it got worse or we attempted to do something about it.  Below are tips about how to prevent and treat blisters on your feet.

Hot Spots:

A blister normally starts out as a hot spot, this is a red spot on your foot where the skin is irritated.  That small hot spot is really a first degree burn.  You should be in the habit of checking for hot spots during your hike.  If you see one, you should cover the spot with a protective layer such as; mole skin, tape or some blister prevention product.


A blister is really a second degree burn on the skin, created from friction.  The blister is formed by the layers of skin separating and filling with liquid.  The liquid is sterile and until the blister is popped, the wound can be considered closed and free from contamination.

If at all possible, do not pop the wound.  If the wound would pop from continued hiking or if the pain is too great, pop the wound with a flame sterilized needle and alcohol wipe and drain.  Then it should be treated like an open wound and could be prone to infection.  Place moleskin or some other thick layered padding over the blister.  The padding should have a cut out over the blister area.  If the blister is open, put an antibiotic ointment over the affected area.  Then place tape over the cut out area.

Blisters should be treated on a regular basis to keep down the risk of infection.  If treated properly and early enough, hiking blisters will not become a major issue.


One of the best ways to prevent hiking blisters is to have a good pair of boots that fit well and are broken in.  In addition, a good pair of socks with wicking capability can reduce the risk.

Pay attention to the signs and don’t ignore that hot spot on your foot.  Non-treatment is not the answer and can cause your evacuation from the trail.

The information provided in this article should not be used as medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. It does not take the place of advice from a medical professional.

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