If you are a hunter, fisherman, hiker or backpacker, you probably cover a lot of miles in the backcountry this time of year. One blister on your foot can cause a lot of discomfort and can really slow you down. Here are some tips on how to prevent them.

Blisters develop as a result of friction, such as the continuous rubbing of your footwear against the skin. If your socks and boots don't fit well, friction is guaranteed. Heels and toes are the most vulnerable, but a blister can pop up anywhere there is friction.

The most important step is to wear boots that fit you well and are broken in. They should be laced up snugly so your foot will not slide around inside. Spending more money on good boots that will last you for many years will save you money in the long run.

Socks that fit well are the next step. Many foot specialists recommend wearing a thin inner sock made from wool or polypropylene underneath a thicker wool or synthetic outer sock. This combination is thought to minimize friction against your skin. Leave cotton socks at home.

Try an ounce of prevention by taping problem areas before you go. Make sure your feet are clean and completely dry before taping. Then, using athletic tape or high-quality duct tape, apply tape smoothly over the skin of blister-prone areas.

If you start to develop a blister, carefully pad the area around it with a product such as moleskin, molefoam or Spenco 2nd Skin. It's better to leave blisters intact if you can. You may need to pop a painful blister with a sterile needle. To minimize the chance of infection, don't remove the roof of the blister (it will eventually dry up and fall off). Apply antibiotic ointment, then pad and tape the area well.

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