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Blisters, latest research

Year of past OR future Camino
June 2018
Prevalence and risk factors associated with the formation of dermal lesions on the foot during hiking.
Chicharro-Luna E et al
J Tissue Viability. 2020 Apr 27

BACKGROUND:
The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of blisters on the foot during hiking and the factors associated with this condition.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:
A cross-sectional observational comparative study was conducted of 315 patients treated at two hostels, located on the Way of Saint James, in northern Spain. The study participants were interviewed and clinically examined to obtain sociodemographic and clinical variables. The variables recorded concerned the type of terrain covered (asphalt or dirt trails), the weight carried (backpack), the footwear used (weight, type, impermeability), the type of socks worn and the hydration of the skin obtained. The inclusion criteria were at least 18 years and to walk at least 20 km in the last five days.

RESULTS:
74% (n = 233) of the hikers presented a bullous lesion on the foot after completing several stages of hiking. The most frequent locations were the first or second metatarsal head and the fifth toe. Logistic regression showed that risk factors for the appearance of blistering were the number of kilometres walked on asphalt (p = .001 [95% CI (1.019-1.064)]) and having wet socks at the end of the day (p = . 006 [95% CI (1.286-4.479)]). The protective factors identified were walking on a dirt, grass or gravel surface (p < .001 [95% CI (0.982- 0.995)]) and using customised plantar orthoses (p = .001 [95% CI (0.085) - 0.512)]).

CONCLUSIONS:
The type of terrain is a determining factor in the appearance of blisters. Walking on a dirt trail reduces the risk. Using custom made insoles and controlling humidity are other factors that should be considered as preventive measures.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Prevalence and risk factors associated with the formation of dermal lesions on the foot during hiking.
Chicharro-Luna E et al
J Tissue Viability. 2020 Apr 27

I think most repeat Pilgrims could have told them that :rolleyes:
My 'Dearly Beloved' is a sight to behold on Camino. :)

She will find the softest part of the track/road if only 5 cms wide! Anything to prevent walking on Asphalt or Concrete. That narrow strip of grass at the edge of the road, or that slight build up of gravel...

3 Caminos, no blisters yet, touch wood.
(Change socks midday, double layer socks, hikers wool and vaseline, stay hydrated)
And avoid any hard surfaces...

It's actually one of the reasons the Portuguese does not appeal to me.
Lots of hard surfaces and cobblestones I hear...
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think most repeat Pilgrims could have told them that :rolleyes:
My 'Dearly Beloved' is a sight to behold on Camino. :)

She will find the softest part of the track/road if only 5 cms wide! Anything to prevent walking on Asphalt or Concrete. That narrow strip of grass at the edge of the road, or that slight build up of gravel...

3 Caminos, no blisters yet, touch wood.
(Change socks midday, double layer socks, hikers wool and vaseline, stay hydrated)
And avoid any hard surfaces...

It's actually one of the reasons the Portuguese does not appeal to me.
Lots of hard surfaces and cobblestones I hear...
I walked the Portuguese camino out of Porto to Santiago. Yes, lots of cobbles and setts, but I had no blisters. Our feet are all different...just like we are. ☺
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
Other factors are sock and shoe selection. Size to accommodate the increase in foot volume and breathability to reduce perspiration. Socks type and management factor into this as well.

That being said, I put a lot of effort to avoid blisters while others can wear inexpensive footwear and never get a blister.
 

David from Freo

"These are the best years of our lives"
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-Santiago 2008; SJPP-Santiago 2014; Lisbon-Santiago-Muxia 2016; LePuy-Santiago 2018; SWCP 2019
Thanks Carole. Very helpful.

I am one of those walkers who is virtually guaranteed to get some kind of blister on a long camino or other walk. I used to just accept it as part of the experience. BUT I have definitely learned to minimise the risk and the pain by spending about 15 minutes each morning on foot treatment before commencing the walk. I use Compeed pads and cream, Fixomull tape, gel toe caps and a weird and wonderful array of products that all contribute to minimising the problem. (I really appreciated the website https://www.blisterprevention.com.au/ for its advice, most of which I follow.)

But I agree with Raggy: I wouldn't mind having a blister or two on the Camino just at the moment! I fear it will be a long time before I'm back on the track.
 

Latecomer

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
...I really appreciated the website https://www.blisterprevention.com.au/ for its advice, most of which I follow.)
I agree. Great site. Especially the unequivocal advice on the correct use of Compeed (and similar Hydrocolloid dressings):
Do not use hydrocolloid blister dressings on blisters with an intact or torn roof!

¡Buen Camino!
 

Kiwi-d

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2014
We are all so different. I have no problem whatsoever walking on asphalt, as that's where I do my training. On the other hand, I'm not really keen about walking on grass, it seems like hard work to me.

I taped my feet and toes every day after my shower with medipore tape, but forgot to trim my toenails, which resulted in a tiny blister on the next toe. That was my only blister. I remember one guy I saw however, sitting in a square with his feet bare and his soles were literally hanging in ribbons. When I sympathised and suggested he would be resting the next day, he roared "No! The goal is 35km! We must achieve the goal". I've often wondered whether he ever did finish the Camino.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I agree. Great site. Especially the unequivocal advice on the correct use of Compeed (and similar Hydrocolloid dressings):


¡Buen Camino!
Right. And Compeed plasters should not be used as a preventative. There are other products that cost less and work better for that, such as tape, moleskin, lubricants like petroleum jelly and Glide, etc.
 

Vendee52

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino France's SJPdP to Finisterre (2019)
Got blister under heel walking around lake nearby and despite piercing it with needle & antiseptic it was still filling up, sore and hot - after a week advised by friend to try a poultice of bicarbonate of soda ( I mixed it with neat liquid antiseptic) and surprise! Next morning blister reduced and no pain - anyone else tried this?
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Got blister under heel walking around lake nearby and despite piercing it with needle & antiseptic it was still filling up, sore and hot - after a week advised by friend to try a poultice of bicarbonate of soda ( I mixed it with neat liquid antiseptic) and surprise! Next morning blister reduced and no pain - anyone else tried this?
Use this with our horses if they get an abscess in a hoof.
 

David61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
And Compeed plasters should not be used as a preventative.
I visited una farmacia for advice and products and although there was a huge (Compeed made) display of Compeed products the lovely senorita did not even glance at it. She provided dressings and a bottle of antiseptic (some of which I still have, though likely out of date) and even though I carried on walking the blisters healed and I had no more. I had used Compeed prior to that and they seemed to promote both pain and a nasty gunk underneath after a few hours
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I had used Compeed prior to that and they seemed to promote both pain and a nasty gunk underneath after a few hours
I have used compeed several times on hot spots with great results. It stayed on in the shower and after a couple of days all was fine. I never had any blisters, so for me it's been great. I can see where its wonderful adhesion would be a huge negative if used on a full blown blister.
 

David61

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
I have used compeed several times on hot spots with great results. It stayed on in the shower and after a couple of days all was fine. I never had any blisters, so for me it's been great. I can see where its wonderful adhesion would be a huge negative if used on a full blown blister.
Chrissy, I had two very problematic blisters (others too but less problematic!). One was a full blown, burst blister which had rubbed away. Yes, very ouch!!. The other was under the hard pad of skin on the side of my foot toward the rear. I don't doubt Compeed works for many, they would not be successful if they did not but not for me at the time
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Year of past OR future Camino
St Olav’s way Novgorod - Åbo
- Stiklestad - Nidaros (2019)
Via del a plata from Cadiz (2019)
Prevalence and risk factors associated with the formation of dermal lesions on the foot during hiking.
Chicharro-Luna E et al
J Tissue Viability. 2020 Apr 27

Parameters needed?

Oversize - 1-1,5 us size more than normal
Weight - light as possible
Dampingfactor - high as possible
Breathing - max ventilation. upper material
Variation - two pairs/custom inner soles
Safety - Nordic walking poles
Protection - silocone toes/ sports tape


Another study then??😂
 

davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Got blister under heel walking around lake nearby and despite piercing it with needle & antiseptic it was still filling up, sore and hot - after a week advised by friend to try a poultice of bicarbonate of soda ( I mixed it with neat liquid antiseptic) and surprise! Next morning blister reduced and no pain - anyone else tried this?

Your example is a real world example of how using a needle to relief painful pressure can fail. I am not sure exactly if what you described had a bubble on top of the skin, or if this was a fluid pocket under the skin. I am guessing that if you used a needle, the technique below would work as well.

If a blister still has it's 'roof', it is recommended to leave the 'roof' intact, but to drain the fluid. Needles are not the ideal tool, as the initial puncture can reseal later, allowing fluid to build up again. A disinfected tool (alcohol or flame from a lighter/match) which can create a slit at the base of the blister near the skin of the foot is best --- a pair of tiny scissors to snip a slit; a disposable scalpel blade or a hobby knife blade as part of a first aid kit.
 

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