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Blisters, once you have them

Discussion in 'Medical Problems' started by Roseallee, May 22, 2009.

  1. Roseallee

    Roseallee New Member

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    I have my first pre-Camino blisters. I am quite content to learn from them.
    Lesson 1: I know why I have them. A shoe/sock combo that is too hot for a 20km walk on a warm day.
    Lesson 2: I can also see if I had stopped when I first felt the hot spot (and had the right stuff with me) I could have prevented them forming.
    Lesson 3: I went shopping and came home with Band-Aid blister pads and a roll of adhesive moleskin. Both have proven useful tools. I have been able to continue walking with a relative degree of comfort.
    My questions are about the much touted Compeed. What exactly is it? Is it a gel that you put on and then bandage? Does it come in other forms? Does it actually help heal the blister or just protect it from further friction. I looked vainly in the shops for anything that sounds similar. Does anyone know if it is available in Canada under another name?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
  2. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Compeed is a J&J product which is sold in Europe in most sports shops and many chemists.

    The COMPEED Range

    It is a waterproof plaster which has an antiseptic gel patch in the middle. You basically prick a blister and drain out the fluid, make sure the skin is dry, and then apply the patch. Any further discharge of fluid is absorbed by the antiseptic gel which then swells up and acts as a cushion between the blister site and the sock and shoe.

    If applied correctly, the patch protects the blister site until it heals and the plaster eventually falls off on its own accord.

    The basic errors some make when using Compeed is to apply some form of cream to the blister before application, or trying to remove the plaster before it is ready to come off on its own. If you use any additional cream, it stops the plaster sticking properly, and if you try pulling it off too early, you usually pull off the skin covering the blister and a bit more, and you are greater trouble than you started with.

    Compeed in Spain is sold in every pharmacy you come across, and in a variety of sizes and shapes to fit where blisters are likely to occur. Some of them which are designed to cover the base of the heel look as though they would cope with a shark bite!!

    The traditional method of threading a needle and thread through the blister to burst it and then leaving the thread to act as a wick to drain the fluid has its fans, but for me, you slap on the Compeed and look cheerful!!

    There is a school of thought that you leave the blister intact when applying Compeed, but that ensures that the pain continues. The pain is caused by the swelling fluid pushing apart the layers of skin, as fluid does not compress. Get rid of the fluid and you get rid of the pain.

    I don't wish to sound alarmist, but some walkers whose feet were not conditioned to walking and who have ill fitting boots and poor socks, end up with feet which look like bloodied stumps.

    The rule is, if you feel a blister starting, stop and find out what is rubbing before it gets larger!!

    A soldiers way to deal with blisters is to prick them, drain the fluid, thoroughly dry the area, and then slap on a strip of duck/gaffer tape. A bit extreme, but really works.

    A good idea is to buy a roll of duck/gaffer tape (5cm wide) and wind a metre of the tape around your walking poles just underneath the handles. The tape is a very useful item to repair tears in rucksacks, boots, rain gear etc, and to use on your feet. DO NOT TRY TO PULL IT OFF YOUR FEET> It will fall off eventually on its own accord.
     
  3. Roseallee

    Roseallee New Member

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    Eureka! Now I got it!

    Thanks Covey,
    When you mentioned J&J and I saw the product range, I realized I bought a package of the finger and toe version the other day. I checked the package and Band Aid, which these are, is made by Johnson and Johnson. Here they call them "Advanced Healing Blister Pads and the packaging is different. I found them only at Wal-mart, not in any other drug store and they had the whole range.
    After reading the directions carefully, I used one on a big blister 3 days ago. Since all it said was "may be left in place for several days", erring on the side of caution, I removed it at the end of the 2nd day. That was not a pretty sight, as the blister and the pad seemed to have become one. :eek:Now, since you explained properly how they work, I see why. I guess they don't say, "Leave it in place until it falls off." to avoid liability?
    Not cheap as you say but worth it if they do the job. I will go back and buy the other shapes.
    The end of the story is that I have put a fresh one on a clean dry toe & will leave it for the duration. By the way, how long is the duration? That is, until it falls off? The Band Aid, not the toe!
    Thanks, thanks, thanks!
     
  4. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Compeed comes in various shapes and sizes, depending on where the blister is. The worst ones seem to be between the toes as these always rub and take longer to heal. They seem to be caused by the feet getting too damp from perspiration and the socks and boots not being able to wick the moisture away.

    Whenever I stop for a rest/coffee I take my boots off and allow the socks and feet to dry a bit.. Many put on a fresh pair of socks at lunchtime.

    On the Camino the Compeed usually stays on for 3-4 days. As all bathing on the Camino is showering it is hard to keep the dressing dry, but if you applied the Compeed properly, they will hang on in there!!

    I always carry some surgical wipes which are small squares of paper towel soaked in surgical spirits and come in a small packet. They cost next to nothing, but if you clean the area around the blister after draining, they remove any bugs and oil from the surface skin, which makes the adhesive work more effectively.

    A good idea is to warm the Compeed up by holding it between your hands for a couple of minutes before pulling off the protective strips and applying. It makes the adhesive stickier!!

    Did you get the blisters with your new socks??
     
  5. Roseallee

    Roseallee New Member

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    Too hot feet were the cause

    Hi Covey,
    No, got the blisters in the Smartwool socks and the Gore-tex coated shoes. The new socks are way cooler, still fit snugly but with not quite so much restriction of the toes. I have been reading the Brierley guide. He said he regrets having gone the Gore-tex route. I am beginning to think the same thing.
    That's a good plan about the surgical wipes. Thanks.
     
  6. Pavel

    Pavel Member

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    I had blisters during my journey, but I was lucky I stopped in Boadilla that day. :)
    The hospitallero taught me a good method to get rid of blisters: pierce the blister twise with a needle, squeeze the liquid out and soak your feet in water with some salt and vinegar. When I came to Boadilla, I could barely walk, but after almost an hour with feet in salt&vinegar water (15 minutes should be enough), walking was not pleasant, but O.K. The next day, I wouldn't believe I had some blisters if I didn't remember! :)

    To prevent blisters, Serafino (the hospitallero) told me to drink a lot. 5 liters of water per day might not be enough in such a hot climate (at least it wasn't for me :p).
     
  7. Roseallee

    Roseallee New Member

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    Blisters

    Hi Pavel,
    I suppose the vinegar/salt combination would also prevent infection and any fungi forming?
    I think it is also interesting that she tied the water consumption to the formation of blisters. I am learning to stop and the first hint of a problem and take preventative action. A friend just gave me a product called Glide which is something runners use to prevent chafing and blisters. Has anyone experience with it?
     
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