Foot blisters can turn up just when you don’t want them – when you’re travelling, training, or trying to enjoy a nice new pair of shoes. But they don’t have to be a fact of life!
Podiatrist Rebecca Rushton is a specialist in treating blisters, and in helping endurance athletes to manage their blister prevention to perform better. We sat down to ask her to share her insights into what causes blisters, and how you can plan to prevent them.
What is a blister?
Blisters are caused by the skin stretching too much. This stretching is called skin shear. When the stretching is excessive and repetitive, a tear occurs just under the skin surface.
Fluid fills that area and within two hours, you’ll have what’s familiar to most of us – a blister.
What don’t people understand about blisters?
Well, if I asked what you think causes blisters, chances are you’d say something like heat, moisture and friction. Or poorly fitting shoes. Or something along those lines.
Well firstly, there’s more to it than bad shoes. You can have perfectly fitting shoes and still get blisters. Now think about it: is it any wonder, that if we’ve got the wrong end of the stick when it comes to what causes blisters, that we find it difficult to stop blisters, or to make them feel better when we treat them. We’re focussing on the wrong thing!
Once you have a blister, what’s the best way to treat it?
When it comes to blister treatment, there are three types of blisters and each of them needs a slightly different kind of treatment.