Leukotape for Blisters: Ideal for Prevention and Treatment

In this guide, we break down how to use Leukotape for both blister prevention and treatment, and include a bunch of handy tips on other ways you can put this roll of tape to good use.

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A blister can ruin a hiking trip. Even worse, if left untreated a blister can become infected and force you off the trails for weeks. In other words, treating and preventing blisters is a must. There are lots of different methods to help, but our favorite is Leukotape.

In this guide, we cover how Leukotape can both prevent and treat blisters. We also include tips for cleaning foot sores and other helpful uses for your roll of handy tape.

What Is Leukotape?

Leukotape is a surgical, zinc oxide adhesive tape. The combination of cotton surgical tape and anti-inflammatory zinc oxide makes this tape a one-of-a-kind medical device. 

Leukotape is a favorite among physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons for helping their patients recover, improving posture, and limiting movement in strained joints.

Athletes and runners use Leukotape during competition to support their muscles and ease joint pain. But did you know that it is also an effective method for preventing and treating blisters

Physio putting medical tape on patients foot
A firm favorite of physios, leukotape is also handy for blister prevention and treatment.

Why Use Leukotape?

Some hikers use moleskin, duct tape, or band-aids to care for their feet. We’ve even heard of people doubling up on socks. Don’t try this! It creates more friction and will actually make a blister or hot spot worse! While duct tape and moleskin can work, we prefer Leukotape, and here’s why:

  • Highly Adhesive – It will stick to anything, even damp, sweaty feet. Because it was designed as a sports tape for athletes, it is highly adhesive. Even in cold or wet conditions, the adhesive holds up. On the other hand, it is also easy to peel off and won’t tear your skin during removal.
  • Breathability – Unlike duct tape and moleskin, Leukotape is made from 100% percent cotton, so it allows your skin to breathe. Despite this, it also offers thermal insulation, thus creating an effective buffer that reduces heat-inducing friction, even with constant rubbing.
  • Skin-Friendly – It’s great for sensitive skin and will leave no sticky residue.
  • Wound Protection – It will keep out nasty germs to prevent infection and further damage, and won’t restrict blood flow. 
  • Price Point – It is easy to find at most drug stores, and the best part is it’s affordable. On top of that, a few strips will last for days, further saving you money.
  • Multipurpose – It is great for much more than just blister prevention. We take a closer look at some of its uses below.

How to Use Leukotape For Blisters

This tape not only works for treatment but also helps with prevention. All you need is the tape itself; no scissors, cutting pattern, or measuring paper.

Using Leukotape to Prevent Blisters

For blister prevention, it’s best to tape up before heading out. To do this, tear strips from the roll and stick them directly to your feet. When you’re breaking in new boots, it can be tempting to cover your entire foot. However, this will interfere with blood flow. Instead, focus on susceptible spots, including heels, balls of the feet, and ankles. 

Keep the strips as smooth as possible, avoiding creases and twists. Once your tape is in place, put on your hiking socks and hiking boots and you’re ready for the trail. 

If you opt not to tape up before a hike, be aware that a hot spot will turn into a blister before you know it. Don’t hesitate to stop mid-hike and apply this blister prevention tape as soon as you feel a hot spot forming. 

Hiker wearing socks with boots off holding ankle
As they say, prevention is better than cure!

Using Leukotape to Treat Blisters

Leukotape also comes in handy for treating and protecting already-formed foot blisters. The best way to deal with a bubbly blister, especially one that will be further irritated, is to drain it. Popping one on the trail is easy with items from your first aid kit. Follow these steps:

  1. Wash or sanitize – If you don’t have soap and water, use hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands and the affected area.
  2. Puncture the blister – There should be a safety pin or needle in your first aid kit. Sterilize the point with a lighter or sanitizing wipe first, and gently poke the blister. 
  3. Drain the fluid – With gauze or a cotton ball, drain the fluid from the blister. Do not remove the skin. It will help protect the new skin as it grows underneath.
  4. Tape up – Once drained, use the tape to protect the area and keep it clean as it heals. Apply the Leukptape directly over the area as smoothly as possible. The better the tape covers the area, the better it will work to keep bacteria and dirt out. 

Your tape job can last for days, but we recommend removing the tape at the end of every day to let your feet breathe and dry out. When you get to camp, take the tape off, clean the area, and keep it uncovered. In the morning, use fresh tape to cover the area before starting the day.

Person removing tape from foot after day of hiking
It’s important to let any blisters dry out, so remove the tape when you are pitched up at camp.

Other Uses for Leukotape

Besides blister treatment and prevention, this tape has other helpful uses while you are out on the trail. Even ultralight backpackers carry this handy tape. To cut down on weight, they pre-cut smaller strips and stick them to mailing labels. You can also roll larger strips around a pen, lighter, or trekking pole.

Injury and Wound Care

Taping up a sprained ankle can minimize movement, prevent further injury, and reduce pain. Likewise, when dealing with a cut or abrasion, you can wear Leukotape to close up the wound and protect it from infection.

Joint Support

Hiking and backpacking are physically demanding and can be hard on your body. You can use Leukotape as it was intended, for joint support, during your hike. The tape helps hold your muscles and soft tissues, which in turn supports your joints. You can learn the proper ways to tape each joint with a simple web search.

Runner crouching  with a taped up knee
Leukotape can be used to support joints when hiking, trail running, or any other exercise.

Gear Repair

In a pinch, this tape can be used to patch a torn rain jacket or tent fly or mend a down coat. The adhesive works as well as duct tape. You can repair almost anything with Leukotape and a little creativity.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let blisters ruin your hike! Leukotape is an affordable, breathable way to prevent and treat these all-too-common foot injuries. You can also use it to manage joint pain, protect wounds, and repair gear.

We hope our guide on using Leukotape for blisters helps keep hot spots and blisters at bay, and we wish you many pain-free miles!

If you found this post helpful, let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share it with your hiking or trail running buddies!

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Megan Large Avatar

Megan hails from southwest Colorado, where she grew up hiking and camping. Since then, she has been on the road, working as an outdoor guide. She's guided hiking trips in British Columbia, whitewater in Washington and Idaho, and taught skiing across Colorado.

Megan has spent over 100 days camping at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and is currently bagging Colorado's 14ers with her Border Collie, Alli. When she's not getting lost on the trail, you can find Megan wherever there's WIFI sharing her outdoor experience so that others may learn from her mistakes.

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