I am going the additional mile to keep away from blisters when winter day mountain climbing and backpacking as a result of I don’t wish to sit on the bench for 2-3 weeks whereas they heal. Everybody has a unique system for winter blister prevention as a result of everybody has completely different ft and footwear, however I believed I’d describe my system and the way I preserve my ft to present you some perception into the choices out there.
I all the time tape my heels earlier than winter hikes with a sticky fabric tape known as Leukotape, which I apply the night time earlier than a hike as a result of physique warmth helps to extend the adhesive grip. I typically neglect to do it at night time, so this isn’t a must-do type of factor, but it surely does work higher than making use of it within the morning. I additionally put on Leukotape on my heels after I put on path runners the remainder of the 12 months. This tape stays on when it will get moist and it’ll keep on for a number of days at a time after I go backpacking. I additionally carry pre-cut strips of it in my first assist equipment. I usually undergo two rolls a 12 months.
Pores and skin Lubrication
I lubricate parts of my ft with vaseline earlier than I placed on my socks, particularly the ball of my left foot and in between the toes of my proper. The ball of my left foot experiences some friction, which is mitigated by the vaseline. I additionally cowl the issue space on my insoles with a chunk of slick (low friction) Engo Blister Prevention Tape to make the floor tremendous slippery. That is very slippery tape you apply to your footwear, not your ft. It’s very talked-about within the Extremely-running group the place repetitive friction can result in actual issues on lengthy runs.
I additionally apply vaseline between the toes of my proper foot so that they don’t rub in opposition to one another after I’m mountain climbing. That friction tends to annoy the nerves of my proper foot, a situation known as Morton’s Neuroma, which appears like your sock is bunched up round your toes, even when it isn’t. Morton’s Neuroma is an overuse harm and one skilled by many hikers as they become older. I stumbled onto utilizing vaseline this fashion final summer time and haven’t had a recurrence of Morton’s since. It’s that easy. I’m stunned my podiatrist didn’t suggest it.
The heels on my ft and parts of the underside of my ft are callused and dried out. This may trigger blistering, significantly when the outer layer strikes, however the inside doesn’t, one thing known as “pores and skin sheer” which is the mechanism that causes blisters. To assist forestall this, I rub an ointment known as Dr. Scholl’s Extreme Cracked Heel Balm on my heels and the balls of my ft at night time and canopy them with a skinny sock. It solely takes just a few functions to see a marked enchancment in pores and skin elasticity. I do that each couple of weeks and it retains the pores and skin on the underside of my ft supple.
I hold the toenails on my ft fairly quick so that they don’t bang up in opposition to my boots and footwear, flip black, and fall off. This simply includes trimming them periodically with nail clippers. I additionally file my toenails once they get thick. When you hike quite a bit, your toes are sure to expertise nail trauma which leads to thick toes nails that stack up as an alternative of rising longer. It could have the looks as toenail fungus which is usually misdiagnosed by your loved ones doctor in the event that they don’t perceive what it means to be a critical hiker. It’s quite a bit like a scab that retains getting thicker on high. I exploit a heavy file to sand the nails down so that they don’t stick out and get irritated. I’ve mountain climbing mates who do the identical factor.
Issues I don’t do
Once I began significantly winter mountain climbing, I used to put on skinny polyester liner socks beneath heavy wool socks. I don’t do this anymore as a result of trendy 400g insulated winter mountain climbing boots are very heat by themselves, with out the necessity for additional augmentation (at the least for me).
Whereas double socking can be utilized to forestall blisters…it really works by wicking moisture away out of your pores and skin into the outer sock layer your ft may very well really feel colder as a result of it could possibly inhibit blood move if it makes your boots match extra tightly. Air can also be the very best insulator, so give your toes loads of wiggle room they usually’ll keep hotter.
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