Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two Handy Treatments for Blistered Feet

Nearly every pilgrim faces the problem of blistered feet, especially those with ill-fitting or new hiking boots. Of all pilgrim maladies, blisters are the most common and the most annoyingly painful.

To prevent blisters, our group thought ahead and tested out their boots in weeks of training. In addition, most of us are wearing sock liners, which allow the foot to skid a bit inside the boot without making blister-causing friction. Those who did get blisters used one of two treatments

A Compeed blister covering -- Treatment Option #1
Treatment #1 - Compeed
Compeed is a European product that is omnipresent in drug stores and pilgrims shops all along the Camino. There's considerable debate among pilgrims as to whether to "pop" a blister and peel away the skin before attaching a Compeed patch. Yours truly suggests draining the blister, leaving the skin intact, and applying the Compeed patch. The patch is applied by peeling away the inner layer, applying it to the skin, warming it with the hand while it molds to the shape of the foot, then leaving it on -- for days if necessary -- until it falls off on its own. Compeed is not meant to be used like a bandage and torn off each day. Nope, it's there for the duration, so apply it well. The primary advantage is that it offers some healing medicine at the site of the blister plus provides some protection against additional, painful friction.

Treatment #2 - Needle and Thread
This strategy is unheard of in America, but is a Camino standby. Take a sterile needle and a thread. Push the needle between the outer and inner layers of skin from one side of the blister to the other. The thread wicks away the moisture and gives the outer skin a chance to remain 
Needle and thread. Treatment Option #2
intact while the inner skin toughens up to take its place. Many pilgrims swear by this treatment , but who knows?

An Ounce of Prevention... always worth twice the cure, so best to walk many training miles in your boots and for double insurance, wear sock liners beneath your trekking socks to be blister-free.


  1. I am confused about the blister on what looks like high on the calf of the leg. What would cause this?
    Also..great preventative is duct tape on the areas where you anticipate blisters. Works wonders to prevent.

  2. Unfortunately someone's right foot (top of posting) looks like their calf. I think we're seeing their right big toe.

    Great idea on duct tape!