Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Infections from Blisters – A Serious Condition [feedly]

Expand Messages
  • Roleigh Martin
    Definitely of interest to the main group. Shared via feedly // published on Fixing Your Feet Blog // visit site Infections from Blisters – A Serious
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 4, 2013

         Definitely of interest to the main group. 
       
      Shared via feedly // published on Fixing Your Feet Blog // visit site
      Infections from Blisters – A Serious Condition

      Susan Alcorn’s Backpacking & Hiking Tales & Tips is a monthly email newsletter from her website at Backpack45.com. Susan and her husband Ralph have done hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail, the John Muir Trail, the Camino de Santiago, and more. Every month I review her newsletter for tips and information that I can share with my readers. I encourage you to check out her website and subscribe to her newsletter.

      Only once before in the 15 plus years of publishing an email newsletter and this blog have I shared information that has the potential to save a life. Please read on and take this information to heart.

      In the December newsletter, Susan shared a story they experienced while hiking the John Muir Trail. They met a hiker with a sobering tale he shared with them. He and his wife had reached Palisades Lake when she was suddenly hit with nausea, fever, and weakness. Initially he thought it was exhaustion, but the next morning his wife was worse so they did a layover day. She was even worse the following day so they decided to exit at Bishop.

      His wife became so weak that she could no longer walk – even without her pack and with help. She collapsed on the attempt to descend the Golden Staircase. Her vitals were a temperature of 105, blood pressure of 90/50, a resting pulse 135 – and she was unaware of her surroundings. He and two others tried to carry her out, but found it impossible because of the narrow trail. A helicopter was brought in and she was airlifted out in a basket to Deer Meadow, where she was put inside the helicopter and taken to the hospital.

      The Alcorn’s met the husband as they were leaving the John Muir Trail over Bishop Pass. He was going out on the east side and then going to find a way over to the hospital in Fresno. We wondered for days how this had played out and were happy when they heard a subsequent report. After four days in the hospital on antibiotics, the lady was ready to be flown home – not entirely well, but no longer in danger. The hospital did not do tests to determine the cause, but only treated symptoms, so the cause of the problem was up for speculation. Her husband thought that an infection had probably entered her blood through blisters in her feet – most likely the source was open blisters and their soak in hot springs.

      Susan says, This is a reminder of the importance of avoiding infection in any open sore – especially under trail conditions.

      Cari's Blister Infected Foot

      Cari’s Blister Infected Foot

      I agree. In 2007 I wrote an article about another hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail who had to be evacuated out and spend a long time recuperating from a serious infection. Her infection was also caused by an infection through an open blister. This first photo shows her infected foot after she reached the hospital.

      Bacteria causing the infection can come from your skin, from the environment, or from anything that gets inside the blister. The web spaces between the toes have more skin bacteria and open blisters here present an increased risk of infection. The second photo shows the redness common to an infection.

      An Infected Blister

      An Infected Blister

      The take-away here is that we need to understand how to properly clean and care for blisters, have the right materials to patch them, and know the signs of infection.

      All open blisters should be watched for redness, streaks up the leg, pus, heat to the touch, pain and/or swelling around the area, and fever. When any of these are present, prompt medical care should be obtained.

      In my 2007 Fixing Your Feet newsletter I wrote, I think this is the most serious and important issue yet. It has in-depth focus on infections as a result of blisters. First read my editorial, Blisters Can Lead to Serious Infection, and then the feature article, My Infected Blister – Almost My Life! where Cari Tucker “Sandals” tells her story. I think you’ll agree with Denise Jones, the Badwater Blister Queen, who told me, ‘This is indeed sobering and shocking (literally). I think people need to see this because I do not think they take blisters very seriously!’ I urge you to fully digest the articles, then read the articles on Blood Blisters and Infections, Staph Facts and Cellulitis Facts.

      Here’s the link to the July 2007 Fixing Your Feet newsletter with the articles.

       


      Sent via feedly // A news reader for creative minds.


      Sent from my iPhone
      See my Google Profile for interesting research links:
      http://tinyurl.com/3vnolh8
    • debrabrownbear
      My husband and I ended our JMT hike this August in Vermiilion, because one of my big toes had become infected (pain, swelling, redness, pus). The trouble began
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 4, 2013
        My husband and I ended our JMT hike this August in Vermiilion, because one of my big toes had become infected (pain, swelling, redness, pus). The trouble began on the long SOBO downhill from Donohue Pass to Rush Creek, and my toe banging against the front of my boot, driving the nail back into the nail bed. I did not want to leave the trail, as we had been planning our trip for a year, and it seemed inconceivable to me that this was going to stop me. Friends from Fresno picked us up at Vermilion, and I saw a doctor same day. Diagnosis cellulitis. Rx was antibiotics and Epsom salt soaks. I said, "Can't I just put duct tape on it and get back out there?" The doctor said "Not a chance." I didn't like that answer, and saw my own doctor in Modesto the next day. Same question, same answer. I still didn't want to give up, so we drove back to the east side of the Sierra and holed up at June Lake, waiting to see if the toe would improve. We visited the Kearsage Pass trailhead, thinking we'd go back in when my toe improved, but it never did. I eventually lost the nail. It took almost three weeks for the infection to clear. I know now that, had I been stubborn and not left the trail, I could have really been in trouble in a matter of days. So, while I was hugely disappointed, it was a good decision to abort the trip. There's always next year. I need to revise my boot/sock system to prevent this next year.
      • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
        Debra, I have had the same problem on local trails around here (lost a few big toe nails before wising up), the answer for me and others - read earlier post on
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 4, 2013
          Debra, I have had the same problem on local trails around here (lost a few big toe nails before wising up), the answer for me and others - read earlier post on this subject - is to wear Injinji socks.

          Ken.

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <debrabrownbear@...> wrote:
          >
          > My husband and I ended our JMT hike this August in Vermiilion, because one of my big toes had become infected (pain, swelling, redness, pus). The trouble began on the long SOBO downhill from Donohue Pass to Rush Creek, and my toe banging against the front of my boot, driving the nail back into the nail bed. I did not want to leave the trail, as we had been planning our trip for a year, and it seemed inconceivable to me that this was going to stop me. Friends from Fresno picked us up at Vermilion, and I saw a doctor same day. Diagnosis cellulitis. Rx was antibiotics and Epsom salt soaks. I said, "Can't I just put duct tape on it and get back out there?" The doctor said "Not a chance." I didn't like that answer, and saw my own doctor in Modesto the next day. Same question, same answer. I still didn't want to give up, so we drove back to the east side of the Sierra and holed up at June Lake, waiting to see if the toe would improve. We visited the Kearsage Pass trailhead, thinking we'd go back in when my toe improved, but it never did. I eventually lost the nail. It took almost three weeks for the infection to clear. I know now that, had I been stubborn and not left the trail, I could have really been in trouble in a matter of days. So, while I was hugely disappointed, it was a good decision to abort the trip. There's always next year. I need to revise my boot/sock system to prevent this next year.
          >
        • debrabrownbear
          Great advice, Ken. I read that thread and ordered Injinis yesterday from the REI website. A pair for me, and one for my husband. We ll demo them snowshoeing
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 4, 2013

            Great advice, Ken. I read that thread and ordered Injinis yesterday from the REI website. A pair for me, and one for my husband. We'll demo them snowshoeing this winter. Thanks!


            Debra

          • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
            Debra, I took 4 pairs, you ll need a pair to wear, a pair to wash, and a couple of spares because they do wear pretty quick. Ken.
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 4, 2013
              Debra,

              I took 4 pairs, you'll need a pair to wear, a pair to wash, and a couple of spares because they do wear pretty quick.

              Ken.

              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <debrabrownbear@...> wrote:
              >
              > Great advice, Ken. I read that thread and ordered Injinis yesterday from the REI website. A pair for me, and one for my husband. We'll demo them snowshoeing this winter. Thanks!
              >
              >
              > Debra
              >
            • Roleigh Martin
              Both John Ladd and myselfl (marti124) have uploaded foot care documents into this folder (some time ago):
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 4, 2013
                Both John Ladd and myselfl (marti124) have uploaded foot care documents into this folder (some time ago):


                My brochure has successfully enabled me to avoid blisters on the JMT.  I start my foot care preparation work about 3 weeks before the hike.  I think what you do in the lead-up weeks are very important.

                My upload has this title:
                Foot Care on the JMT - Items to consider getting and why.pdf 

                -------------------------------------------------
                Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                _

              • herbstroh
                Critical to avoiding blisters is proper choice of footwear and spending quality time in that footwear prior to walking 220 miles. If you choose boots, make
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 5, 2013

                  Critical to avoiding blisters is proper choice of footwear and spending quality time in that footwear prior to walking 220 miles. If you choose boots, make sure the fit is proper and allows for swelling of your feet on a multi-day hike. Consider taking socks with different thicknesses to be able to adjust the interior fit during the hike. Do plenty of day hikes in those boots to confirm they work for you and/or you know where the hot spots are and can address them in advance. Try lacing them differently. For example, some Grand Canyon hikers do a special lacing to protect toes from the rigors of long downhill stretches common in the Canyon: http://www.hitthetrail.com/boot-lacing-technique Consider carrying an extra footbed for your boots that is a different thickness than the one currently in place. Even something as small as that will change the location of hot spots and increase comfort.


                  My preference is trail runners, which I use to run and walk in as part of my day-to-day workout regimen. Because I am in them every week, rarely will any problems develop on a long hike. If I am getting hot spots I change sock thickness, remove the footbed, and/or adjust the lacing to change the fit. I can't recall any issues with blisters in years, even though I do wet-foot crossing in my runners.


                  Herb


                  Herb

                • Roleigh Martin
                  Herb, this is a great link -- can you update the link folder I posted about 2-3 posts ago in this thread? You deserve the link creator credit which means
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 5, 2013
                    Herb, this is a great link -- can you update the link folder I posted about 2-3 posts ago in this thread?  You deserve the link creator credit which means you'd have to create the link yourself.   

                    Thanks!
                    Roleigh

                    -------------------------------------------------
                    Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                    _



                    On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 11:25 AM, <hstroh@...> wrote:
                     

                    Critical to avoiding blisters is proper choice of footwear and spending quality time in that footwear prior to walking 220 miles. If you choose boots, make sure the fit is proper and allows for swelling of your feet on a multi-day hike. Consider taking socks with different thicknesses to be able to adjust the interior fit during the hike. Do plenty of day hikes in those boots to confirm they work for you and/or you know where the hot spots are and can address them in advance. Try lacing them differently. For example, some Grand Canyon hikers do a special lacing to protect toes from the rigors of long downhill stretches common in the Canyon: http://www.hitthetrail.com/boot-lacing-technique Consider carrying an extra footbed for your boots that is a different thickness than the one currently in place. Even something as small as that will change the location of hot spots and increase comfort.


                    My preference is trail runners, which I use to run and walk in as part of my day-to-day workout regimen. Because I am in them every week, rarely will any problems develop on a long hike. If I am getting hot spots I change sock thickness, remove the footbed, and/or adjust the lacing to change the fit. I can't recall any issues with blisters in years, even though I do wet-foot crossing in my runners.


                    Herb


                    Herb


                  • donbushek
                    Was your problem a blister or nail damage due to shoes that didn t fit? It s hard to imaging losing a nail due to a blister. Don
                    Message 9 of 10 , Dec 5, 2013
                      Was your problem a blister or nail damage due to shoes that didn't fit? It's hard to imaging losing a nail due to a blister. 

                      Don
                    • Robert
                      I ve lost plenty of toenails due to blisters forming under them on long hikes or runs. Ultimately it comes from footwear that doesn t breath or allow for
                      Message 10 of 10 , Dec 5, 2013
                        I've lost plenty of toenails due to blisters forming under them on long hikes or runs. Ultimately it comes from footwear that doesn't breath or allow for swelling of the feet and a large enough toe box though. It got so routine for me over the years, I've had several toenails permanently removed! I have be become very picky in my footwear choices over the years and I now avoid Goretex on shoes like the Black Plague due to it trapping sweat inside my footwear.

                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <moe@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Was your problem a blister or nail damage due to shoes that didn't fit? It's hard to imaging losing a nail due to a blister.
                        >
                        > Don
                        >
                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.