Blisters from Walking and Hiking boots are the most common that we see in clinic as we are located on the coast to coast walk in Whitby.
Like other sports and leisure activities blisters tend to present on the feet when you start participate in these activities without prior conditioning or planning. Walking can be done anytime and anywhere and because of that reason, forethought and preparation sadly can be lost. It is easy to assume that because these activities are part of our everyday life we will just be able to do them, however a 10 mile + event is not a walk in the park!
For a successful outcome of any event, preparation and conditioning is key, increasing the distance achieved over a gradual period of time is important for the feet to be able to adapt to the different stresses put onto them.
Walking shoes to prevent Blisters
There isn’t or good or bad pair of walking shoes or boots, they just have to be right for you. However, the fit of the shoe is extremely important, always try shoes or boots on at the end of the day when your feet have been on the move and maybe a little warmer or swollen. The shoe fitting at this point will replicate, when you are more active.
Walk away if they don’t feel right, shoes will probably wear you in before you have chance to wear them in! Always make sure there is a thumbs width from the longest toe to the end of the shoe. This will allow for the extra room needed at the front of the shoe, especially when you walk downhill when the foot starts to move forward in the shoe. If you think you have a problem with the way you walk or you are struggling with repetitive injuries then arrange to see a MSK (Biomechanics) Podiatrist who can help assertion what the problem maybe and prescribe exercises or an orthotic prescription.
What is the best Blister preventing sock to wear when walking or hiking?
It is really important to wear the correct socks, blisters can be caused if the skin moisture is not wicked away. Socks that hold the moisture created by sweating will inevitably cause the skin to blister over a period of time. Moisture wicking socks are the only ones to use when walking or running, if one sock is not enough to prevent the blisters forming then use two socks and then the friction created by walking, will be taken up between the socks and not the foot and the sock. Injinji socks with their five toe formulae help prevent blisters forming between the toes, by removing the friction of skin on skin. Darn Tough socks are great too.
Armaskin Liner socks
Armaskin liner socks are amazing at reducing the shear on the skin and in preventing blisters. They have a lifespan of 260 miles and are worn under your usual sock, they do feel a bit strange at first against the skin but they definitely do the job of preventing blisters. If you get Blisters in-between the toes then Alpaca wool is recommended to weave between the toes. Pull the Armaskin socks over the Alpaca wool.
What products reduce friction and pressure to the skin?
Engo patches can be placed on the inside of the shoe on the areas that are rubbing the skin. This reduces the amount friction from the shoe onto area of the foot and are really worth using as a preventative measure for blisters. They are thin enough not to take up any room within the boot or shoe.
Pellitec Blister prevention Pads
Pellitec blister prevention pads are also useful when applied to the inside of the shoes.
Gel products from gel digi caps, epitact gel ovals and gel heel sleeves
All our gel products help to prevent blisters by absorbing the shear caused by friction and pressure, enabling the skin to remain blister free.
Poron insoles are wonderful at absorbing shear (pressure and friction) from underneath the foot, resulting from ground reactive forces. There are a range of Poron insoles that have different properties and functions depending on what suits your blister type but they all do a great job of blister prevention. We use these in clinic all the time and have been my absolute favourite for easing the pressure from the ground.
Skin Taping with Hypafix and KT pro tapes
Hypafix and KT pro tapes are great blister prevention tapes can be used on all areas of the feet. Sometimes it can take a little practice to get right but we have made quite a few videos to help.
2toms Blistershield powder
2toms blistershield powder can work really well by itself on the skin as a prevention measure or after the blister prevention tape has been applied, reducing the friction applied to that area. Only use on the area of unbroken skin that is affected and do put pour into the inside of a sock
Alpaca wool to weave in-between the toes if blisters are forming there, the friction is taken up within the fibres of the wool and not within the skin. Do not use on broken skin nor wrap it around the toes
is an essential tip for retaining the foot in the shoe and preventing it moving around too much in the shoe, especially when walking downhill. This movement within the shoe is a well-known cause of foot blisters
Gaiters are so underrated as a blister prevention measure, they prevent water running into the boot or shoe, alongside grit and sand. All of these materials are known cause of blisters once they enter the footwear and have contact with the skin.