Brent Radford, the owner of Foot Focus Podiatry, had the privileged of working with Rebecca Rushton at Esperance Podiatry as his first position upon graduating from Curtin University. Since opening Foot Focus Podiatry in 2000, he has always been keen to learn about (and stock) podiatry foot products that work. When it comes to blisters, Rebecca Rushton is the guru. Her Engo Patches and blister tips are so good. Foot Focus Podiatry has been providing Engo Blister Patches to their clients since they were introduced into Australia in 2012. So please read on to learn more about blister treatment and prevention.
Blisters can really ruin your day, but they are sometimes an unavoidable reality. New shoes, walking further than expected, starting a new exercise regime and even holidays are some of the common blister scenarios. Fortunately, they are 100% preventable, and manageable if looked after early and properly. At Foot Focus our Podiatrists can help you manage your blisters.
Some tips about stopping blisters in their tracks:
- Choosing the right sized footwear is important, as incorrect sizes will contribute to the factors that cause blisters. Make sure you choose shoes that have enough space at the end of the shoe (around the width of your thumb), enough wiggle room, and that it fits so the heel doesn’t slip when you walk.
- Wearing socks or stockings will help keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. So will wearing breathable shoes. Feet inevitably perspire and that moisture increases friction levels. So, if you can allow it to evaporate, you’ll keep friction levels lower and blisters less likely.
- If you’re going on holiday or running your first half-marathon or anything new like this, make sure your shoes are broken in first. Shoe materials can be pretty stiff when you first get them and it takes a little bit of time for them to start to flex freely and evenly, just where your feet need them to. Skipping this step will almost certainly cause blisters to form, which is a terrible thing to happen when you’re trying to enjoy your holiday or trying to meet your running goals. Wearing your shoes in will save you a lot of pain and disappointment. Start with wearing them around the house. Then do a couple of short walks, then slowly start taking your time and distance out further.
- If you play sport, run or like to go for long bushwalks, you’ll have noticed socks aren’t what they used to be. Just looking at any online store you’ll see a huge range of moisture-wicking socks, each with special technology developed for comfort and function. Some people like to wear two pairs of socks, or even toe socks.Different socks will suit different needs, for example, thicker socks will provide more cushioning but thin socks will often keep friction levels a little lower. Particularly when bushwalking, your choice of socks can really affect the quality of your hike. As an extra tip, bring an extra pair of socks so you can change if your feet get too sweaty!
- Once you’re happy with your shoes and socks, taping can provide a little extra protection. There are all sorts of taping techniques for your heels, toes, arches and the balls of your feet. Here’s a great video about forefoot taping techniques that you can practice. Combining these preventative measures will go a long way to ensuring you don’t have to worry about blisters, no matter what your activity.
- If you’re unlucky and the above basic blister prevention measures aren’t enough to keep your feet blister free, don’t worry! There are some more specialised products and methods you can use to target your blister-susceptible area.
- Gel toe protectors are excellent for preventing most toe blisters. They cushion prominent joints really well and they absorb blister-causing forces brilliantly. Alternatively, your podiatrist can make you a custom-made toe-prop for persistent toe blister issues that are the result of hammertoes or curly toes. At Foot Focus Podiatry we sell all these products.
- One of the main components to blister formation is high friction levels. And the best way to lessen friction levels is with a product called ENGO Blister Patches. These shiny blue stickers apply to your shoe, insole orthotics, rather than your skin. That way, they’ll stay in place for months and months. Every time you put your shoe on, they’ll already be there. Otherwise, you can apply greasy lubricants or BlisterShield powder each time for a similar though shorter-term effect. These patches are highly recommended for back-of-heel blisters, arch blisters and blisters under the ball of your foot. You can pick up your ENGO supplies here at Foot Focus Podiatry.
If you just can’t seem to get on top of your blister issues, come and see us at Foot Focus Podiatry for some professional assistance. There are a couple of blister locations that can be helped greatly by insoles, orthotics or modifications to your gait. This could be the missing link to your blister prevention success, so don’t put it off.
Sadly, the treatment of blisters is something that is largely misunderstood by most people. For example, it’s doesn’t help to “let the air get to it” so your blister dries out. It might get a scab over it, but a scab isn’t healed skin. A scab is simply healing fluids that have dried and contracted over your wound. It is inelastic, scratchy and easily broken.
Not only that, there are misconceptions around things like the use of Compeed, popping blisters and the role of taping in blister treatment (as opposed to prevention). To help you take the appropriate action on your blisters, the following videos and infographics will cover the key approaches to prevent the issue from worsening and lower the chances of infection.
- How To Treat Your Blister (According To The Integrity Of Your Blister Roof)
- The Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid Using Compeed (And Other Hydrocolloids)
- How To Pop A Foot Blister, When It’s A Good Idea & How To Ensure It Doesn’t Get Infected
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/LM4NR6_1vaU”
- How To Pop A Foot Blister, When It’s A Good Idea & How To Ensure It Doesn’t Get Infected
As soon as you think you might have a hotspot, you need to stop immediately and check the area. People often fall into the trap of continuing because they are experiencing a rush of adrenaline or they downplay the significance of the niggle. The best thing to do, of course, is to stop and take some preventive action. Some tape, an ENGO Patch or firm up your laces – it all depends on where your blister is and what’s causing it.
What do you do if you miss the hotspot stage altogether and you notice you’re getting a blister? The best thing to do is to implement the correct treatment (as above) and let the blister heal in its own time. If you have to carry on walking or wearing the offending shoes, you’ll be keen to do anything you can to minimize the pain and prevent further damage. This is best achieved by putting in place the preventive measure you should have implemented earlier. This will make all the difference.
How can you reduce the pressure on your blister, or reduce the friction levels over your blister? These are the questions you need to ask yourself. How you achieve this will depend on where your blister is on your foot. For example, if I had a blister under the ball of my foot, I’d use a donut pad and an ENGO patch to achieve these two aims. But if it was on the tip of my toe, I’d go for a toeprop and firm up my laces. If you’re not sure what your blister needs to help it heal and feel less painful, see one of our podiatrists – they will definitely be able to help.
If you get a blister and you’re treating it diligently, it’s quite easy to avoid infection. But it’s something you should be on the lookout for, just in case. The signs of infection generally include:
- Heat around the blister
- Heightened pain and sensitivity around the region
- Red streaks moving away from the blister as the infection gets worse
To limit the chances of infection, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands using antibacterial gel or soap to remove germs etc.
- Clean the blister, if the blister has any dirt, dried blister fluid or blood this can be washed away using a saline solution (salt water is fine), you can also rinse it with soap or just water if that is all you have access to. By doing this, you are physically removing germs from the site of the blister.
- Disinfect the blister – Using antiseptic, you can eliminate the remaining germs at the site of the blister.
- Protect the blister – Cover up the blister with a sterile dressing once it has been cleaned. This will prevent new germs from taking up residence in your blister. It will also provide your blister with an environment that is conducive to healing.
Be sure to monitor your blister over the coming days. Every time you have to change the dressing, check for the signs of infection. Our podiatrists at Foot Focus can assist you with blister treatment.
Blister prevention and treatment supplies should be part of your first aid kit, even if you think you’re not prone to getting blisters. You never know when a blister might pop up so remember to always be prepared. You’ll need island dressings (eg: Band-Aids), hydrocolloid blister plasters (eg: Compeed), antiseptic (eg: Betadine), some cotton wool balls or buds, a couple of gel toe protectors, a selection of ENGO patches, some felt so you can make a couple of donut pads if you need to, and the tape of your choice. Especially if you’re covering a lot of ground on holiday or hiking, it’s worthwhile having a sterile hypodermic needle or blade to lance any large troublesome blisters, to help keep you on your feet. If you’re planning an adventure of some sort and you need a ready-made blister kit, Blister Prevention has a range of three to choose from. Otherwise, you can make your own and get many individual supplies directly from us, including gel toe protectors, felt and ENGO patches.
Foot blisters are a common problem! When it comes to blisters, prevention is always better than cure. If you’re struggling to get on top of your, please don’t hesitate to come and see us at Foot Focus Podiatry. We have ENGO Blister Patches available for you to purchase. Each of our podiatrists are fully trained in the latest blister management principles and look forward to helping you with this very common problem. Bring your shoes and any of the products you’ve used in the past and we’ll help you get your feet back to blister-free!