How To: Wrap a Blister

Little things to make your summer hikes kick even more butt.

By Sam Holder June 3, 2009 Published in the June 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

WHAT’S REALLY THE BEST treatment for these painful orbs of goo? Erik Meira, a board-certified sports specialist at Black Diamond Physical Therapy in Northeast Portland, tells us how to treat a blister and keep on trekking.

Step 1 Don’t pop it! Puncturing the pouch means losing the naturally sterilized fluid, your body’s defense against infection. Drain the blister only if the beast is so big that it would rupture when you put your boots on.

Step 2 Pad the wound on all sides with gauze. Add enough padding to create a barrier that’s flush with the top of the bubble. Or try the “doughnut” method: cut a hole the size of the blister in a piece of moleskin and slip the moleskin over the bubble.

Step 3 Use a strong adhesive (Meira recommends duct tape) to keep the dressing in place. If the location of the blister allows it, wrap full strips of tape around the foot (you can wrap over the top of the blister as long as you put a piece of gauze over it first); this is the most effective way to secure the bandage.

Step 4 Eliminate the cause. Blisters are caused by friction and exacerbated by moisture. Make sure your shoes fit well and are broken in, and wear socks made from a wicking fabric, such as wool. (Avoid cotton, which will absorb the sweat and won’t dry out quickly.)

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