Several weeks ago (on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th May, I believe) I did the practise weekend for an expedition with school - the practise weekend was a two day hike, covering about 25km-30km total over the weekend. I am not in great shape, had a heavy load and quite soft feet and thus got enormous blisters on the balls of my feet and all along the back of my heels. They were swollen and each about the size of my middle finger. I struggled to walk at all for a few days, then the pain wore off. The blisters on the balls of my feet popped and peeled off. However, one of the blisters on my heels has not yet popped. It is filled with a white liquid, but is not painful in everyday use. It is still roughly the same size.
This weekend (13th-14th June) I will do my qualifying expedition, walking in the same shoes as before and walking a slightly longer distance. I plan to wear Compeeds (blister plasters) over all sensitive spots, including the blisters, but I don't know whether I should pop this blister now (about two days before the walk) or leave it intact for the protection it provides. I am concerned that the walk may only make the blister worse as it is still swollen and so will likely rub against my shoes. Alternatively, it may rupture on the walk and become infected - I have been warned to expect river crossings and muddy conditions - plus, forecast is for rain. If I pop them, however, I know that I risk infection anyway and it will become an open wound. I left it this long in the hopes that it would heal naturally - but is it too late to pop it, and if not, is popping it the advisable course of action in my situation? Thanks.

  • 2
    Do these answers your question?
    – ppl
    Jun 11, 2015 at 22:23
  • @ppl I really like the answer about considering if the blister is likely to pop on its own. The medical website UpToDate says not to pop blisters, but I'm guessing they didn't consider hikers traveling many miles with wet hiking boots. Personally, with no professional medical experience, I feel like foot blisters are likely to pop and should be drained in a controlled and sterile environment, then promptly sealed and covered to heal. Then again, that might be more painful during the hike. Jun 12, 2015 at 2:39
  • @Chris - If you do not pop them the blister get bigger, releasing more fluid. Eventually the entire heal is a blister, then it pops, usually ripping a big flap of skin off and exposing raw skin to rough wet sock. Infection is a minor concern at the point. The only reason I know not to pop is risk of infection, its going to pop anyway unless you go bare foot.
    – user5330
    Jun 12, 2015 at 4:40
  • 1
    Related questions that might help you? outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/4307/2303 and outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/4346/2303
    – WedaPashi
    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:28
  • Side notes: forget about compeed during the hike, they won't hold, especially in wet environment. Use surgical tape, second skin, moleskin, even duct tape... Something that will actually hold for the complete hike, and has low friction. Tape all the places where you had blisters, and take some with you in case you notice other hot spots.
    – njzk2
    Oct 30, 2015 at 14:05


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