I hate it when I get a blister. The first reason why I hate it? They hurt! You don’t get a blister without some irritation being involved. The second thing is that I worry about infection.
Before we get into prevention, let’s talk about what a blister really is and what causes it. A blister is caused by friction. Friction is when your skin is being rubbed back and forth by the shoe. The friction causes your skin layers to separate. When this happens, the space between the layers will fill with fluid or air. This space is the blister.
So, what can be done to prevent blisters? I have found some ideas that may help. The first and biggest suggestion is that before you wear your new shoes out for the day, you wear them with light weight socks for a few hours the night before. After wearing them for a few hours, look at your feet and see if there are any red spots that could indicate where the shoes would rub your feet.
When you are testing out the shoes the night before with socks, the socks will help cushion the foot and will help break in the shoes. If you find red places where rubbing is taking place, there are products that you can use to help protect the area and hopefully avoid blisters. One such product is Dr. Scholl’s For Her Miracle Shield. This product is formulated to create a barrier between your foot and the shoe. The product is slick and waxy to the feel and will prevent shoes from rubbing. You may need to reapply if you feel the shoe starting to rub.
One of the ways to save yourself from blisters while you are exercising is to wear sock liners under your socks. Sock liners are ideally made of polypropylene. (They wick the moisture away from your foot and keep them dry.) The sock liners will then rub against your other socks rather than your feet.
Do you know what to do if, despite your best efforts, you get a blister anyway? The treatment depends on the size and painfulness of the blister. If the blister is small, you need to cover it with a bandage until it goes away. The important thing is that the bandage should be big enough to cover the blister without any of the adhesive touching the blister. It is actually recommended that you use a moleskin bandage. The moleskin bandages will stick better and hold up with the friction much better than regular band aids.
If the blister is larger, fluid filled, and painful, you will find some relief if you gently and carefully drain the blister. To do this, you need to sterilize a needle and insert the needle into the blister where the top of the blister meets the skin. The skin on top is dead skin, so it should not hurt. Do not remove the top skin or open the blister more than the prick of the needle opened it. Now that the skin is open, even just that small amount, you have a much higher chance of getting an infection. To prevent this, you might want to apply some antibiotic ointment to the area. Do not do this if you are allergic to antibiotic ointments. The most important thing is to bandage the area with moleskin making sure that the piece of moleskin you are using is larger than the blister. Make sure that the adhesive is not touching the blister. The bandage needs to be changed at least daily (more often if your feet get wet or sweat a lot). If you notice that the area is warm or there are red streaks coming from the blister, get to the doctor right away. These are signs of infection and you need medical help. Call your friendly local podiatrist and get in right away.
I hope that this information will help you avoid the dreaded blister. Even a small blister on your foot that hurts can disrupt your activities so try and avoid them.
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