As coach for the AARP Fat 2 Fit online nommunity, I ask experts to share their insight on issues involving fitness. One such expert is Dr. Paul Auerbach, one of the world’s leading authorities on outdoor medicine.
I asked Dr. Auerbach, “What’s the commonest outdoor injury and how can it be prevented?” His answer follows:
Blisters are common outdoor injuries for people who are trying to increase their activity by walking, jogging or hiking. Follow these guidelines to prevent blisters:
1. Socks: Wear a smooth, thin, snug-fitting synthetic sock as an inner layer and a thick, woven sock as an outer layer.
2. Shoes: Make sure shoes or boots fit properly and comfortably. Fit shoes in the evening because feet tend to swell throughout the day. Allow ample time to break in new footwear. Try on your shoes with the same socks you will be wearing on the trails.
3. Treatment: The best protection for a blister is its own roof. To assist in protecting this roof, apply a small adhesive bandage or pad either at the beginning of the day on an area susceptible to blistering or as soon as a hot spot develops.
4. Protection: Blist-O-Ban bandages (by SAM Medical Products), Micropore paper tape, cloth tape, Elastikon elastic tape, moleskin, Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads, Band-Aid Blister Block and duct tape can be used as barriers to prevent blister development or to protect the roof of a blister.
With a little footwear planning and care, you can avoid most blisters, and you will be able to continue merrily on your outdoor adventure.
Dr. Auerbach’s practical advice will keep us moving in comfort as we walk off those surplus pounds. With a few precautions, we can safely enjoy our “green” exercise.
Paul Auerbach, MD
Dr. Paul Auerbach, professor of surgery in the Division of Emergency Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, is the author of Medicine for the Outdoors, Field Guide to Wilderness Medicine, Diving the Rainbow Reefs, Management Lessons from the E.R. and Bad Medicine. Paul edits the textbook Wilderness Medicine and serves as anational medical consultant on hazardous marine animals to the Divers Alert Network. Dr. Auerbach is also the chief medical officer and chair of the Medical Advisory Board for Healthline Networks, where he hosts a blog entitled Medicine for the Outdoors.