Friction Blisters and Their Prevention

Author: Greg Ferguson
Our common sense tells us that if something is a cause of another, not doing the first thing will prevent the second thing from happening. This is also the same case with friction blisters. As these are caused by the friction between surfaces rubbing against the skin, if the level of friction is reduced, these blisters can be avoided.

There are many ways by which this can be achieved.

1. Wear shoes that are a proper fit. In addition to a proper fit see to it that your shoes are comfortable and that there are no inner protrusions etc. Stiff, non-fitting or uncomfortable shoes, such as high heels and dress shoes are inherently at a higher risk of blistering.

2. When wearing socks, always make sure that you wear clean socks. Moist skin, rather than dry or wet skin are more likely to develop blisters. So if you have sweaty feet, use socks that are able to manage moisture or frequently change your socks.

3. Feet get particularly sweaty when playing sports or exercising. When playing sports try and wear socks that are specially made for sports. These are designed to reduce wetness and in turn reduce the chances of blisters.

4. It is also advisable that a shoe be 'broken in' before it is extensively used e.g. for walking, hiking or running.

5. As a preemptive effort, even before you feel an irritation or a bruise developing you could wrap your feet with a protective layer that reduces friction between a susceptible area and your shoe. This will prevent rubbing of the inner surface of the shoe against the area and help you avoid a blister.

6. If you have a blister or you think that your skin is on the verge of growing one, bandages, moleskin and tapes should be applied over the area daily.

7. Blisters on hand can occur when using rough tools such as a shovel or pickaxe. To avoid such blisters always wear gloves when using tools in manual work, like gardening. Also use gloves when playing sports such as golf, baseball, cricket etc. Bats or clubs used without a glove can be a cause for severe blisters.

8. Another useful trick that can be helpful is to use a drying substance, such as talcum powder, on your hands or feet. These help to decrease the friction and dry the skin for a short period.
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