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Blisters Are No Fun!

Foot Blisters
Photo by Mauricio Pellegrinetti via Flickr

Almost everyone has experienced the unpleasant sensation of foot blisters at one time or another.  They tend to occur at the heel or soles of the feet.  And wow can they be uncomfortable and even painful sometimes.  They can make walking a living nightmare.  If you put your body weight on that blister, every step ends with a painful cringe.  But you can take some simple precautions to prevent blisters.

How do you get blisters?
Foot blisters are caused by friction or pressure on the skin, mainly due to excessive rubbing from ill-fitting shoes and socks.  Over time, this can cause the top layer of the skin to separate from the underlying layer, which allows fluid to fill the gap between these two layers resulting in that bubble that you recognize as a blister.

Moist, warm conditions are optimal for blister development.  That’s why blisters are more common in hot weather, when feet are more likely to swell and sweat.

Can blisters be prevented?
The good news is that you can prevent blisters by following these few, simple suggestions:

  1. Wear proper socks: Socks that are too little or too big can cause blisters.  Also, when you exercise it may be beneficial to wear moisture-wicking socks.  These socks reduce moisture and friction.
  2. Wear appropriate shoes: If you are on your feet a lot, you should avoid sandals and shoes with straps.  They are more likely to cause blisters.  Instead, make sure to go with walking shoes.  Don’t forget, you always need to wear socks with these shoes.  Even perfectly fitted shoes can cause blisters when worn without socks, especially in hot weather.
  3. Keep feet dry: If your socks are moist, change them right away.  If you’re prone to sweaty feet or will be very active on a given day, keep a spare pair of socks where you can easily change into them if needed.  The goal is to keep your feet dry.  This will reduce your chances of getting a blister.

What do I do if I get a blister?
If you get a blister, the treatment depends on the size of the blister.  The goal is to treat the blister as soon as possible and keep it from getting larger and possibly infected.  Here are a few tips for treating your blister:

  1. Small blisters: If it is a small blister and causes little to no discomfort, the best thing to do is to leave it alone.  It will heal on its own.  Just make sure to keep it dry and clean.  If you want to keep pressure off the blister, you can apply a moleskin pad with a hole cut in the middle of it.  This will reduce the friction that might make it grow.
  2. Large blisters: If you have a large blister and it is painful when you walk on it, than you may want to puncture and drain it.  If you decide to do that, make sure to first clean and disinfect the blister before puncturing it.  Then make a small puncture near the edge of the blister with a small sterile needle. (Sterilize the needle by holding it in a flame for a few seconds while being careful not to burn your hand on the hot metal.)  Then gently squeeze the liquid out of the blister, cover it with a tight bandage and let it heal naturally.  Make sure to keep the blister dry.  If you notice any signs of infection, such as, reddening, swelling or pus, call your doctor.

So, the next time you are thinking of going for a long walk or run, make sure to wear the appropriate socks and shoes.  That way, you can enjoy your exercise and avoid the discomfort of blisters afterwards.

Comments (5)

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  1. Mark says:

    I haven’t had a blister in some time! When I do the band aid seems to do the trick! 🙂

  2. Maria Isabel says:

    It seems that I only get blister in the Summer when I wear sandals without socks. It is hard to ware socks when it is hot. Good show! Thanks

  3. Rosy says:

    That’s awesome advise, especially for the bigger blisters (which I have gotten). Thanks, Talli!!!

  4. Jason says:

    Our company manufactures a unique solution for blisters called “ENGO Patches” -http://www.goengo.com. They apply directly to footwear, not on your skin, to relieve painful rubbing and blisters.

    We’re offering a blister-free trial to anyone who’d like to try ENGO Patches. Just email us: info@goengo.com with your mailing address. It’s that easy!

  5. […] As promised here is the link to my blister article:  Blisters Are No Fun! […]

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