Treatment of Blistered Hands

Above image is not my hand but taken off the net from
Anyone who windsurfs has experienced the pain of burst blisters on their hands. If you windsurf at home a couple of days a week then they are a 'proud trophy' - so what, they'll heal before the next session and the skin will be even harder and better to cope with the constant friction on the boom next time you sail.
Go away for a windsurfing holiday. Great you think - non stop windurfing all day long for a whole week.............2 weeks maybe.............if you are luckier 3 weeks. So the first couple of days you are on your hol you give it all you have (after all you have a whole lot of energy to burn). Come day 3 and your hands are starting to worry you, so they are taped up or the gloves go on (or are bought at the local beach boutique). Half way thru the third day the agony and misery starts to set in. The pain is starting to get beyond a joke. By day 4 you can hardly even open your hands, hold a cup and the agony of putting them under fresh water in the shower is almost unbearable. By the end of the week the puss has set in and the blisters are oozing gunge and the antibiotic cream is being slapped on. Now if your hands are in this state after the first week did you really enjoy the only week of windurfing you have in 'paradise'?? If you are staying longer what are you going to do during week 2 or 3?? Well if you are staying 3 weeks you will have had to take a couple of days off to help your hands heal a bit.
After going on numerous windsurfing holidays of varying lengths I think I am FINALLY getting the 'blister business' sorted and got it down to quite a fine art. I have had enough of not being able to sail properly because it is just too painful to be able to hold the boom with sharp needle jabbing pains going thru the palms of my hands and right up my arms. So this is MY way of looking after your hands while on a windsurfing holiday (by the way it is not totally pain free but I reckon it's as pain free as you will ever get unless you have hands made of leather that never blister).
For the first three days wear gloves (I HATE wearing them....BUT WEAR THEM!). If after surfing you feel sore spots on your fingers just under the first joint nearest the tip of your fingers (basically where the cut off fingers of your gloves end) then strap them up with elastoplast (bandaid to the folks on the other side of the Atlantic!). Allow yourself the pleasure of sailing without the gloves for just the last half hour of sailing on each of those days. Don't do any more or the blisters will come up badly. If your hands are feeling ok on the last two days of the week then discard the gloves, but keep a very close check and put the gloves back on before it gets too late. On your last day chuck the gloves off and give it all you've got! If you are staying longer then very very gradually lengthen the amount of time sailing without gloves. It would also be a good idea to give your hands a day of rest if they still get quite bad.
In all probability you will still get blisters even though you are wearing gloves. I came across a brilliant (and miraculous) product by chance. It is a cream that is used in the burns unit in hospital and as far as I know can only be bought on prescription. I came across it when my daughter had burned herself with splattered boiling oil. It is called ''BIAFINE'' and is made by Medix in France.
If you put this cream on at the very first signs of any blistering it practically dries them up overnight. You have to religiously put the cream on about 3 times a day. It doesn't soften up the hands at all but instead strengthens the skin. Last week I sailed 3 days in a row and only had to use my gloves for the last hour on the third day. I had used this cream each day and although I had minor blisters they were dried up completely after just one day not windsurfing.
Not quite sure if the above is very clear but to put the basic points down:
1. Use your gloves straight away and not when it is too late. Expose your bare hands to just a very short while surfing each day.
2. Get the BIAFINE cream (or local equivalent) and rub the palms of your hands with it 3 times a day (even if hands have no visible blisters).
3. If you are holidaying for more than a week don't wear out and rip your hands apart completely in the first week or the rest of the holiday will be ruined. Ease your hands into it and nurse them with care - after all if your hands can't function how are you going to surf?
The above certainly isn't 'definite no blistered hands' but I have found it to be the closest I can get to a ''blistered hands remedy''.


PeconicPuffin said…
If I haven't sailed for months I've got to wear gloves for a few days too. It beats bleeding!
Joe said…
This is a very old post, but I found the advice to work well for me. Especially the Biafine which I found online. Another tip is to search for “crew rowing hands” to learn how to tape. I’m now using crazy glue on any hotspot that has appeared or that I know is likely to. Works wonders and has saved my vacations.