Blister Busters

Sometimes it seems as though blisters are a fact of life. Whether you’re a runner or a high-heel aficionado, just wearing a new pair of shoes for the first time, danger lurks everywhere. Luckily, there are some tricks to avoid painful blisters and still be able to enjoy all the shoes in your collection.

First, be sure your shoes fit—no matter what kind of shoe it is. Shoes that are too big will rub on your heel, guaranteeing a blister. So, you want your shoes to be snug but not tight. Walk around in them BEFORE you buy them to be sure they don’t slip on your heel or pinch somewhere, especially the toe area.

Second, make sure your feet are dry. Sweaty feet cause blisters. If you’re wearing athletic shoes—running shoes, sneakers, hiking boots—consider the two sock system or socks that fit closely and have nylon or other wicking synthetic in them. Cotton holds moisture and can increase your chances of blistering. Generic tube socks don’t fit snugly enough and can move around inside your shoe, also increasing the potential for blisters.  With the days of wearing panty hose and stockings mostly gone, women find it harder to wear dress shoes comfortably. Try sprinkling foot powder or cornstarch in your shoes to keep them dry or use a blister guard product to prevent blisters in common areas.

If you find yourself with a blister despite your precautions, follow these steps to safely treat it. 

  1. If the blister isn’t too painful and doesn’t prevent walking, leave it alone! The body has created the blister to heal the tear between skin layers. Let it.
  2. If you must lance the blister, wash your hands first.
  3. Swab the blister with iodine or rubbing alcohol.
  4. Sterilize a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
  5. Use the needle to puncture the blister. Aim for several spots near the blister's edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.
  6. Apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and cover with a bandage or gauze pad.
  7. Cut away all the dead skin after several days, using tweezers and scissors sterilized with rubbing alcohol. Apply more ointment and a bandage.
  8.  If your blister doesn't heal or becomes red and infected, contact Dr. Rahn Ravenell at Coastal Podiatry in Mt. Pleasant, SC. (843) 856-5337.

Happy walking, running, playing!

Dr. Rahn A. Ravenell

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