Blisters are a common occurrence for athletes and anyone who wears new shoes. Blisters will occur in areas of friction and are classically located on the heel or the sides and tops of the toes. They may become severe and infected, so proper blister care is essential. When trying to avoid the pain of a blister, people may try stepping on a different part of the foot. This can lead to the foot and other structures in the leg becoming loaded in an unusual way that promotes an injury. This is common in novice runners, especially when starting a running program.
Most people know when they have a blister. The symptoms include red and tender fluid-filled sacks on the skin. These can range in size from very small or large.
The causes of blisters are categorised in two ways. The first is anything that increases contact pressure (rubbing) on an area of the foot. This includes tight shoes, new shoes, and unusual footwear. The second is anything that increases friction on the skin and includes moisture, dirt, sand or grit.
There are a few things that can be done to ease the pain of blisters and prevent them from occurring in the future.
- Protect the area with thicker socks, pads, bandaids
- Make a barrier with petroleum jelly (Vaseline – good for under the arms in runners etc)
- Ensure feet are clean and dry
- Wear clean, dry socks
While most blisters will heal over time naturally, some may require popping. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) will refer you to a podiatrist if this is needed. We do not recommend doing this yourself as skin is a protective layer to prevent infections. Performed incorrectly, it may become infected, and this will keep you from running or playing sport for longer.