Blisters – Prevention is always better than a cure

Author & copyright © Anna Beetham, Podiatrist, BHSC (Pod), MAPODA, MAAPSM
Included with permission

Blisters are one of the most common athletic injuries and can form quite easily during vigorous exercise. They can be debilitating and often result in the athlete having to persevere with extreme pain or cease activity to gain treatment.  Care must be taken to attend to these quickly as there is a risk of cellulitus or sepsis if they are left untreated.

Although blisters are frustrating they are one of the simplest injuries to prevent.

Some facts about blisters:

  • Blisters are caused by friction and are exacerbated by moist skin.
  • Blisters are more likely to be formed where there is calloused or thick skin.
  • Higher intensity workouts or longer duration workouts lead to more friction and increase the likelihood of a blister forming

Podiatrist Anna Beetham’s top tips for blister prevention

  • Moisturise your feet every day with a natural balm such as Healed Sole Food™ to keep skin elastic
  • Use pumice or foot files to keep callous down
  • See a podiatrist to get your feet looked at if you have continued trouble (to check shoes/identify abnormal biomechanics/taping techniques/remove callous)
  • Apply a hypoallergenic tape such as Fixomull® to areas of repeated friction or if you have new shoes you need to wear in (remember to round edges of tape)
  • Have your shoes fitted by a professional. Ask about lacing techniques to secure your foot
  • Buy and wear the best socks you can afford. Look for Coolmax® (a material that wicks moisture away)
  • Attend to hot spots (the warning sign that a blister is about to form) immediately
  • Use a natural anti-chafing balm such as Healed Skin Protect™ to assist in reduction of friction and to soothe areas of irritation after activity
  • Wear technical and breathable clothing with no internal seams
  • NEVER wear a new pair of shoes on race day (same for new socks and clothing…always test drive them and wear shoes in)
  • No Vaseline or petroleum based products
  • No duct tape or sports tape directly applied to the skin.
  • Do not use powders to absorb sweat
  • Soaking feet in tea prior to an event can improve skins strength (tannins)
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Check out www.healedonline.com for more information

Anna Beetham is a podiatrist with 10 years of clinical experience in the sports medicine industry and has a passion for all things active and sports related. She is the consultant podiatrist for the Melbourne Victory Soccer team, Podiatry Co-ordinator for the Oxfam Trailwalker and was part of the medical team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. She has vast experience in treating any and every kind of blister and had made it her mission to give athletes the best advice regarding their prevention and treatment. In addition to this Anna has recently developed Healed® a range of completely natural skin products with foot care, blister and chafing prevention in mind. For more information or to contact Anna log onto www.healedonline.com

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