There are many, many articles and web sites that will tell you what to do if you develop a hot spot or blister while on the trail, and need to perform some field treatment to allow you to get back in your boots and finish your excursion. There are many more that will help you prepare for your hike and take steps to prevent these from happening in the first place. This includes handfuls of questions and answers here at TGO.SE.

However, what I have not been able to find is anything that discusses the long-term and after-care. For that time when you've been back to home and work for a day or two, yet there remains this patch of red, angry skin on your heel or toe. How can you help it heal? How can you reduce the pain while it heals?

Although I would prefer a generalized answer that helps the entire community, I will describe my own case. I've just finished a week-long vacation with some light hiking at several stops going there and back. Further, my hiking shoes were not 100% broken in yet. The good news is that I never blistered, just formed hot spots on the bottom of both big toes. The bad news is that those spots are still rather painful- as I unpack and clean up, I really notice it. I've tried a moisturizing foot lotion, but it's been no help. I'm not sure whether to try a warm water and epsom salt bath or not.

  • I've used the first-aid tag here among others, even though I'm really asking about "second aid." I've done so thinking this will be helpful in future searching, but if others think it doesn't belong, I will remove it.
    – cobaltduck
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 20:38
  • I think this does belong, if only to remind people that injuries, however minor, take some time to heal. Kick back, put your feet up, and unpack in two days when it's not gonna be a pain.
    – jhch
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


As someone who thru-hiked the AT, and has had many a blister, I can safely say that you really need do nothing for them other than to remove the dead skin once the blister pops, off load any pressure being placed upon them if possible and keep it as clean and dry as possible. Unless you are diabetic, immunocompromised or a heavy smoker, they will heal in about 9 to 14 days. When I developed blisters on my hike in the early days of my adventure, I slapped some mole skin on it and kept on hiking. They eventually heal over time.

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