Blister prevention strategies hone in on the causative factors discussed here, plus a couple of other shear-minimisation strategies. Let’s go through them one by one.
Blister Prevention Strategies
1. Friction Levels
When you reduce friction, most people think you’re trying to stop rubbing. In reality, you’re trying to make things more slippery. This slippery surface (either on your skin, between sock layers or on your shoe) will reduce the skin from stretching too much. Try it. Put some Vaseline on the back of your handIdeally, the aim is to reduce friction just where the blister-susceptible area is, not all over the foot. Remember the mechanical efficiencies of gait – we still need high-ish friction levels to maintain traction for the foot in the shoe. Examples include:
There is a lot of pressure on all parts of our feet from weightbearing, shoe contact pressure and from toes sitting so close together so it’s easy to see why blisters are so common on the feet, especially when running, jumping and walking over difficult terrains. Examples include:
5. Spreading shear load
Peak shear occurs in very localised areas. It’s likely that if you can spread that shear load over a larger area, peak shear will be reduced per unit area. I believe this is how tapes work because it’s unlikely they work by any other mechanism (for example, they are unlikely to be made from low friction materials – read here for more about what we know about taping and what we don’t know).
14 POPULAR FOOT BLISTER PREVENTION STRATEGIES
While there are lacing techniques that can hold your foot in your shoe, good shoe fit is a must. If you have a wide feet, a bunion, hammertoes or bony lump at the back of your heel and perfect shoe fit is impossible, at least get as close as possible to perfect and work from there. Even with significant foot deformities, it is possible to prevent blisters. You just need to apply the right strategy to the right location. This program will help you identify the right strategy, even if you’re very blister prone.
Moisture-wicking socks are highly advised if your feet are very sweaty, as one of the first line strategies to implement before honing in on your exact blister location if they prove to be insufficient.
The skin adapts to blister-causing forces over time. That’s why training or wearing your shoes in gradually is so important. It’s also why people get blisters with new shoes – certain parts of their skin are not used to the pressure.