Just like a splinter or scab, blisters are an experience we’ve all had at some point or another in our lives. While it isn’t uncommon to have them pop up on our hands, our feet is where the majority of blisters occur. They’re visually off-putting, physically irritating (sometimes downright painful) and, most importantly, they’re entirely avoidable. Keep reading to learn practical tips to circumventing this all-too-common problem.
First, the basics: blisters are those unsightly, uncomfortable bubbles that appear when skin is damaged through either friction or heat. In order to heal, small pockets of liquid develop in order to protect the area and allow the zone to mend itself without further aggravation. The liquid that fills the blisters is called serum, which is blood plasma that is a clear fluid. To that point, some blisters may be a dark color; in such cases the liquid is blood, hence the name “blood blister.”
So, now that you know the specifics of what a blister is, what steps can you take to avoid that all-too-familiar rubbing of the shoe against your toes or heel?
1) Wear proper shoes that fit well and are suited to your foot type. When walking around in your new footwear for the first time, be mindful of any areas of the foot where the pain shifts slightly instead of moving uniformly with your body. Though seemingly unimportant at first, hours of rubbing can easily lead to blisters. If you’re prone to blisters, consider purchasing footwear that can be laced up to ensure a secure fit.
2) Wear socks that have moisture control capabilities (i.e. sport socks), and for comfort buy socks with extra padding like Thorlo Socks. This will help to reduce the friction between your shoe and your foot.
3) Old fashioned products like Vaseline and deodorant can be applied to your skin to have your shoe glide over your body rather than coarsely buff the top layers. This is especially helpful if you anticipate an elevated amount of movement, like those times you go hiking or jogging.
How to treat blisters
1) First of all, do not burst the blister because, as previously mentioned, the liquid is there to protect the damaged area as it heals; the liquid prevents the under layers of skin from being touched. Prematurely popping them can lead to infection.
2) Temporarily change up your footwear. If your favorite pair of sneakers continuously hits the same exact spot on the back of your heel day after day, the problem will get worse, not better. Therefore, give your body some time to recuperate by switching up your shoes if you can. If the blister is on your toe, consider wearing options with a wide toe box, like many of the shoes made by Dansko.
3) To further defend the blister, wrap the region with pads, gauze or moleskin. Make sure to keep the area clean with gentle washing. To help the blister do its job of healing the raw skin underneath, keep it moist with aloe vera gel or one of our many foot and body lotions.
There’s no denying blisters can be quite a nuisance. While they are undoubtedly a fact of life, being mindful of the above tips will help to minimize their occurrences so you can continue to benefit from healthy feet.