School is out next week in our neck of the woods…summer is just around the corner! Summertime means higher temperatures and lots more outdoor activities…which is a recipe for blisters brought on by friction, heat, and sweaty feet. While prevention is the best medicine….sometimes no matter how hard you try you end up with a painful blister. Today we’re sharing tips for both preventing and treating blisters.
Wear the Right Shoes
This seems like a no brainer, right? The first line of blister defense is making sure your shoes fit correctly! Shoes that are either too tight or too loose can cause blisters. When shopping for shoes, take time to walk around a bit to feel for pressure points. Runners and hikers should use an incline board to check for toe bang and heel slip. To prevent blisters when running or hiking, buy shoes that are about a 1/2 size bigger than your street shoes. You want to have a little room in the toe box because your feet will swell as you run. Runners may even want to talk to a running specialist for a gait analysis if blisters are a constant problem. When buying shoes, check for seams that may rub on your feet and cause blisters. Older shoes may also have worn out areas that can lead to extra friction on your feet.
Wear the Correct Socks
Avoid cotton at all costs! Cotton traps moisture whereas synthetic fibers wick away moisture. Buy socks without seams that can cause blisters. You may even want to wear two pairs of socks in some cases. Hikers should look for a thin synthetic or wool liner sock and a thick synthetic or wool outer sock.
Arm Your Feet
Beyond wearing the right shoes and socks, there are a few preventative measures you can take to stop blisters in their tracks.
- Sprinkle a bit of baby powder or corn starch on your feet before putting on socks to keep your feet free of moisture. Excessive moisture can lead to blisters.
- Put petroleum jelly, clear deodorant, or even chapstick on blister prone areas to cut down on friction.
- Use moleskin as a preventative measure on blister-prone areas.
- When wearing new shoes, push on the upper rear part of the shoes to soften up the material.
- Check out this great post on a product called Leukotape that is great for long hikes.
- If you get regular pedicures, make sure they don’t remove any calluses from your feet. Calluses serve as blister protection!
- Pay attention to the way you walk. Bring your foot to the ground on your toes first rather than slamming your entire foot down.
- Check out this video to see how to create the “lace lock” on running shoes to prevent blisters.
- Keep toenails short. Trim off any sharp edges that may irritate your other toes or snag socks.
- If you get dirt or rocks in your shoes while running or hiking be sure to stop and empty your shoes.
- If you’re on a long hike, take time to rest and stretch out your toes.
First and foremost, avoid popping blisters if at all possible. A blister is actually your body’s way of protecting injured skin.
If you must pop the blister, there are a few steps to follow to prevent infection.
- Wash your hands.
- Clean the outside of the blister with soap and water or rubbing alcohol.
- Sterilize a sewing needle or push pin with a match or lighter. Hold the instrument in the flame until it glows red hot then wait for it to cool off a bit.
- Prick the side of the blister.
- Press the liquid out and soak it up with a cotton ball or gauze.
- Do not pull the loose skin off the blister. It will act as a natural bandage for the damaged skin underneath.
Once you’ve popped the blister or if it’s popped on it’s own, apply an antibiotic ointment. If you’re an essential oil user, All Purpose Healing Salve is perfect for helping a blister to heal. If you don’t have any salve on hand you can combine the following mixture in a 1/8 oz roller bottle and apply as needed:
Let the blister breathe without a bandage for as long as possible. When you do need to apply a bandage, try to cover the blistered area without touching the blister itself. Use a regular adhesive bandage for small blisters and mole skin or a gauze pad for larger blisters.
If a blister is filled with cloudy pus or has an odor it may be infected. Redness, swelling, abnormal pain, fever and nauseousness are also signs of infection. If you see a red line forming from the site of the wound you may have a staph infection. Any signs of infection should be taken seriously! Contact your doctor immediately if you see any signs of infection.
Before you head out for summer fun….be sure to protect your tootsies!
What is your go-to blister remedy?