You chose appropriately broken-in footwear for your hike, but conditions aren’t what you expected. With each step, you can feel your shoe rubbing against your foot. The rubbing is making your skin feel warm and irritated. This is when you know you’ve developed a hot spot or blister. These nasty sores happen much more frequently than we’d all like, but they don’t have to mean the fun is over, if you’re prepared. With Moleskin in your first aid kit and Duct Tape in your essentials bag, you can put your focus back on your hike and away from the pain in your foot by knowing how to treat it.
Hot spots and blisters are not to be taken lightly so prevention is the best medicine. Now is the time to be “That Guy” and ask your hiking partner to take a break so you can attend to your feet.
1. Cut a piece of Moleskin sufficiently large enough to cover the hot spot.
2. Tear off a piece of Duct Tape large enough to cover the Moleskin with plenty of room around the edges to stick to your foot.
3. Place the Moleskin sticky side to sticky side of the Duct Tape. (By inverting the Moleskin you will be able to remove the Duct Tape later if a blister develops and not have to tear your skin off.)
4. Center the Moleskin on the hot spot and adhere it around the hot spot with the Duct Tape.
The Moleskin is your first line of defense. It will create a cushy barrier between your skin and your shoe. The Duct Tape provides a slick surface for your shoe to rub on, creating less friction. You could even break out that Vaseline impregnated cotton ball you stashed in your essentials bag as a fire started years ago and give the duct tape a little extra lubrication.
Even when we do our best to prevent a blister, it doesn’t always work. If you wake up the next day and your hot spot has turned into a blister, as much as your instinct makes you want to pop it, that’s the last thing you should do. Popping a blister can introduce bacteria to the sterile environment and create an infection. Instead, create a cozy environment for your blister to reside so you can get back to hiking:
1) Cut at least one or more pieces of Moleskin sized to cover the blister with about 1/3 inch extra.
2) Cut a hole in the center of the piece of Moleskin just barely larger than the blister creating a doughnut shape.
3) Position the Moleskin doughnut around the blister, building up the surface around the blister so it’s just higher than the blister.
4) Use the same trick with the remaining Moleskin doughnut hole on the Duct Tape.
5) Center the inverted Moleskin on the blister securing it with the Duct Tape.
Next to your head, your feet are your second most valuable asset on the trail. Be sure to take care of them.