Blisters can be a major problem for many people as you begin to get back to running and exercising outdoors and changing into new shoes.
Blisters are causes by friction or rubbing, usually of high pressure points on your skin against your shoes or socks. This friction causes your body to react by producing fluid that builds up underneath the skin. Small blood vessels can pop causing a blood blister. Anything that increases friction can set off blisters:
1. Poor fitting shoes
2. Foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes, heel spurs)
3. Heat and moisture in the shoe
4. Increased pace or distance running.
Here's how you can prevent blistering:
1. Wear proper fitting shoes and socks. Wearing the wrong size is an easy way to produce friction. Make sure there is a thumbs width space between the longest toe and the end of the inner part of the shoe. Your socks should not bunch or be loose on your foot.
2. Keep your feet moisturized. Dry skin can produce more friction.
3. Use blister free socks. Synthetic socks are better at wicking moisture away from the skin. Many running shoe companies make socks with reinforced heels and toes to reduce friction.
4. Keep friction areas slick. Vaseline was the old stand-by for keeping away chafing. Body-Glide is a great product found in roll-on form at your local running shoe specialist.
Large blisters can be drained with a needle cleaned with alcohol. Pop the blister and slowly drain the fluid through the needle hole. You might need 2 holes to make it work. Cover with bacitracin and a band aid or bandage depending on the size. Leave small blisters intact, just keep them covered with moleskin with a hole the size of the blister in the middle to keep pressure off of the blister.
Enjoy the weather!
I HAVE to talk about athlete's feet and personal hygiene today. I was at the gym this morning, and I saw what I always see:
About 50% of the men taking showers were barefoot. While I understand that someone can occasionally forget to bring their sandals or flip flops, these guys NEVER wear them.
Not to the showers, not to the bathroom.
This is the perfect way to get Athlete's Foot, a fungal infection of the skin. Wet and humid floors near a bathroom where hundreds of people walk is exactly what you think it is: a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus and viruses. So here are the rules for treating athlete's feet.
1. Mind where you walk. If you are at the gym, a pool, or any place where your feet can be exposed to humid or wet conditions then wear slippers or sandals.
2. Keep a close eye on your shoes. If your foot has fungus then your shoes have fungus in them as well. Make sure to rotate your shoes to allow them to dry. Lysol spray your shoes after every use. One of my attendings in residency recommended bunching a paper towel and spraying it with Lysol spray. You can pack the inside of the shoe with the paper towel and leave it overnight.
3. Keep your floors clean in your house. This includes the shower. I recommend a bathroom cleaning spray after your shower.
4. WASH YOUR FEET. Actually wash your feet with soap and your hands or a washcloth. Soap trickling down by your feet during a shower does not count. Wash in between your toes as well. Afterwards, dry your feet, especially between your toes.
5. Antifungal cream: If you have fungus there are some pretty good over-the-counter creams on the market. I recommend Lamisil AT cream twice a day to my friends. I have better prescription creams, but that's for after a visit with an evaluation.
6. If your feet sweat then I would recommend using an over-the-counter antifungal powder before putting your shoes on.
If these recommendations don't help, then I recommend coming to see me or your local podiatrist.
Keep those sandals on!