Tips for Preventing or Protecting Blisters

Foot blisters can be a constant annoyance for many, particularly runners, athletes, or those who have to spend a lot of time walking or standing for their work or hobbies. You definitely don’t want them slowing you down, but you also don’t want to burst them and potentially suffer an infection.

The flow chart for dealing with blisters goes something like this:

1. Prevent them from happening in the first place

2. If you can’t prevent them, protect them so they don’t pop

3. If you can’t protect them (or they pop anyway), get a professional to drain them

4. If all else fails, drain and bandage them yourself if you can do so safely.

You can check out our recent blog on draining blisters for help with point 4, but now we want to help you with points 1 and 2.

There are lots of methods out there for blister prevention, but the most basic are still the best. In most cases your shoes and socks make the biggest difference. Blisters are caused by friction, which can result from shoes that are too tight (or too big) or aren’t appropriate for your physical activity. Getting the right fit and picking a good pair of moisture-wicking socks are often the most important step you can take.

Those who are active may additionally benefit from taping “hot spots” or placing blister-prevention patches inside shoes to reduce friction at the most common problem areas. And whether your active or not, cushioned insoles or even full custom orthotics from our office can provide crucial protection, especially if you have a food structure conducive to blister formation.

Now, if the blister is already present, you’ll want to try to protect it. It’s always best to let blisters heal on their own, if possible. A great way to do this is by taking a moleskin pad and cutting out a “donut hole” in the middle for the blister—this helps relieve pressure on the damaged skin. You can also find blister bandages in many pharmacies or drug stores. We’ve even heard some runners suggest putting duct tape overtop a blister bandage to help socks slide better over the area.

Often with blisters, better safe than sorry. If your blister is big and painful, or if you’re concerned about infection, have it checked out by our team at North Austin Foot & Ankle where we can drain and bandage it safely. To schedule your appointment, please call 512-593-2949.

Posted on June 22, 2016 .