A decent blister kit needs to cover a lot of blister scenarios.
It needs to:
- Stop hot-spots from turning into blisters
- Treat the three different types of blisters
- Make blisters less painful and heal quicker
- Prevent blisters from getting infected
- Contain items that are more durable than most
And it needs to have enough of everything without having too much. It's a fine line between preparing for the worst case scenario, and packing too light - only to run out of something at the most inconvenient moment.
I've had the Advanced Blister Kit in circulation for some time now. It's a great kit, putting some advanced blister materials in the hands of anyone that needs real blister management capabilities. I put this together to help people augment their standard first aid kit.
But my friends who compete in 6-Day ultramarathons find this kit just doesn't have enough in it. With blisters being the number one injury in the sport, they want enough of everything without having to source more dressings or toe protectors or the like.
After providing foot care at several 6-Day ultras, I've got a feel for items they need, and the quantity. Plus, it has become clear they need a couple of extra items - for common foot care issues that are commonly neglected.
It's called the Ultra Blister Kit and it packs down into a sandwich-sized snap-lock bag (18cm x 16.5cm) and weighs in at just 155 grams.
6 x Betadine swabs
6 x Cutiplast island dressings 7cm x 5cm (sterile)
6 x "Joint" island dressings (sterile)
12 x "Finger" island dressings (sterile)
2 x Comfeel hydrocolloid dressing 4cm x 6cm (sterile)
1m Fixomull 5cm width
2 x Skin Prep wipes
2 x 5 Cotton tip applicators (sterile)
2 x 5 Cotton wool balls or gauze (sterile)
2 x Scalpel blades size 15 (sterile)
2 x Hypodermic needles (sterile)
2 x Gloves (medium)
1 x Emery board
1 x Orthopedic felt sheet 9cm x 11cm x 5mm thick
1 x Poron/PPT sheet 13cm x 15 cm x 1.2mm thick
1 x Silicone large sleeve
1 x Silicone small sleeve
1 x Silicone small cap
1 x ENGO 6-Pack (4 large ovals, 2 small ovals)
How to use the Ultra Blister Kit items
Povidone iodine swabs
- Function: Antiseptic (the most widely-used antiseptic).
- How to use: Wipe over any blister to disinfect the skin or wound.
- Quantity: 6
- Note: Do not use if you have a known allergy to iodine.
Various island dressings
- Function: Protect the intact or torn blister roof; soak up blister fluid; prevent infection, maintain a moist healing environment for optimal healing.
- How to use: Cover any blister and ensure the non-adherent "island" covers the entire blister.
- Quantity: 24 dressings ie: 6 Cutiplast (or Primapore), 6 "Joint" and 12 "Finger" dressings.
- Note: All dressings are sterile, hypoallergenic and water-resistant.
Comfeel hydrocolloid dressings
- Function: Comfeel is a sterile hydrocolloid/hydroactive dressing used for the treatment of deroofed blisters. Similar to Compeed, it provides an ideal moist environment that promotes healing in low to moderately weepy wounds.
- How to use: Rinse the wound with saline or antiseptic. Gently dry the skin around the wound. Apply the dressing, and anchor all edges with Fixomull taping. When Comfeel dressings absorb wound fluid, a whitish gel is formed. When this gel reaches the upper film surface, the dressing surface becomes marbelled or transparent. This is normal. The dressing is designed to be left on for several days. Change the dressing immediately if there is leakage from any edge, or if there is a suspicion of infection (increased soreness / redness around the wound).
- Quantity: 2
- Note: Comfeel dressings sterile and odour proof. An odour may develop under the dressing and is normal. This odour will disappear when the dressing is removed and the wound is rinsed.
Fixomull 5cm tape
- Function: Use to provide a protective layer to the skin, or anchor paddings and dressings.
- How to use: Cut to length, round edges and apply to skin.
- Quantity: 1 metre
- Note: Fixomull is a hypoallergenic, water-resistant and flexible tape with very strong adhesive properties.
- Function: Adhesive enhancer. Use in cases of excessive skin moisture to maximise adhesion of tapes and dressings.
- How to use: Wipe swab over skin and allow to dry before applying tape.
- Quantity: 2
- Note: Contains alcohol so it will sting on broken skin. Use on unbroken skin only. Instructions on packet.
Cotton wool balls (or gauze) / cotton buds
- Function: Use to wipe away dirt and debris and to soak up liquid such as blister fluid or excess antiseptic.
- How to use: Gently wipe over skin.
- Quantity: 2 x 5 cotton wool balls (or gauze); 2 x 5 cotton buds
- Note: Sterile
- Function: To lance blisters.
- How to use: Use the pointy end to pierce the intact blister roof to enable draining of blister fluid.
- Quantity: 2
- Note: Scalpel blades are sterile single-use items and must be disposed of in a sharps container, not general waste.
- Function: Use a hypodermic needle to bore through your toenail if there is bleeding or blister fluid underneath it, to release the pressure.
- How to use: I know it seems a bit extreme, but this is an easy and safe procedure to perform yourself. You don't need to press as hard as you think. Just gentle pressure as you rotate the needle on the nail is all you need.
- Quantity: 2
- Note: Hypodermic needles are sterile single-use items and ust be disposed of in a sharps container, not general waste.
- Function: Used to promote infection control and to keep hands clean when applying povidone iodine (brown liquid).
- How to use: Apply to hands before handling torn, deroofed blisters or povidone iodine swabs.
- Quantity: 1 pair
- Note: Gloves are non-sterile and contain latex.
- Function: For nail care and callous exfoliation.
- How to use: Rub over rough nail edges or thickened calloused skin
- Quantity: 1
- Note: Use with caution on skin – excessive exfoliation can damage skin.
Orthopedic felt (5mm thickness)
- Function: A bulky self-adhesive material commonly used to make donut pads to deflect pressure from a blister.
- How to use: Cut to shape, peel paper from back and apply to skin or footwear.
- Quantity: 1 piece (9cm x 11cm)
- Note: Bevel edges to ensure maximum comfort. Anchor edges to skin with Fixomull to ensure longevity.
Poron / PPT (1.6mm thickness)
- Function: A durable cushioning material used to reduce pressure and absorb shear. Can also be used to make donut pads.
- How to use: Cut to size and tape to skin or footwear. Consider if one or two layers is necessary to cushion adequately.
- Quantity: 1 piece (13cm x 15cm)
- Note: Can be used directly against the skin if intact. Apply dressing before using over torn or deroofed blister.
Silopad gel sleeves & caps
- Function: Used on toes to reduce pressure and absorb shear. The sleeves (middle and right) are open at both ends. The cap (left) is closed in at the end to protect the tip of the toe.
- How to use: Cut to desired length (elastic will not unravel) and place over toe. The manufacturers recommend removing the product after 3-4 hours to allow the skin to breathe.
- Quantity: 1 x sleeve for big toe; 1 x sleeve for lesser toe; 1 x cap for lesser toe.
- Note: The silicone material is washable, reusable and able to be placed directly to intact skin. Do not place on an open wound. Hand wash product, air dry and lightly dust with talcum powder after drying for maximum longevity.
- Function: To reduce friction levels
- How to use: Apply to dry shoes, insoles and orthotics.
- Quantity: 1 x 6-Pack (4 large ovals and 2 small ovals)
- Note: Do not apply patches to the skin. Full application details on the packet.
Plus, the Ultra Blister Kit comes with instructions on how to use each item. And a copy of the Blister Treatment Flowchart, so you know exactly what to do and when. The Ultra Blister Kit is available now!
Written by Rebecca Rushton
Rebecca is an Australian podiatrist with over 20 years experience. She has spent a lifetime dealing with her own blister prone feet in her sporting and everyday life. Rebecca specialises in helping athletes and sports medicine professionals figure out how to manage foot blisters with ease. And for kicks, she enjoys providing blister care at multiday ultramarathon events.
Rebecca is the founder of Blister Prevention and author of "The Blister Prone Athlete's Guide To Preventing Foot Blisters".