The Athlete’s Guide to Preventing Blisters

Blisters are the skin’s response to irritation. When something repeatedly rubs against your foot, the skin will first get hot and red. Then, in an attempt to protect itself from further assault, it forms a bubble. This isn’t an injury that happens slowly over time. Irritated or burned skin puts up a fight in a hurry, and protective blisters can form within minutes.

If you play sports, you’re probably no stranger to the phenomenon of getting blisters on your feet. Tennis players are especially prone to blisters. They’re constantly pivoting around the court, pulling their skin in all directions. Runners also know the pain of blisters particularly well. Even swimmers aren’t immune; water is safe, but slap some training fins on your feet and voilà – the potential for skin irritation that leads to blisters.

On the feet, blisters tend to form on the toes and the heels. Here are some tips to help prevent them:

  • Get shoes that fit. Don’t buy athletic shoes Try them on at a store with knowledgeable salespeople who can give you advice on the best fit for your foot.
  • Wear appropriate socks. Blisters are more likely to form on wet skin. Wick sweat away from your skin by wearing moisture-absorbing socks. Your socks should fit snugly, so they don’t move around and rub against your skin.
  • Know when to stop. If you feel a hot area on your foot, stop your activity. Protect the area with an over-the-counter pad or blister prevention tape.
  • Fix an existing foot problem. Bunions, hammertoes, and heel bumps can contribute to friction and the formation of blisters. Make an appointment to treat these underlying issues with foot doctors Megan L. Oltmann, DPM and Craig B. Frey, DPM of Foot and Ankle Associates of Cleveland.

If you take precautions and still get a blister, leave it alone. You don’t need to pop it. Popping a blister can lead to infection. Cover it with padding to prevent further irritation and wait for it to heal on its own. If a blister is large, painful, or looks infected, see our qualified podiatrists. We welcome patients from Summit, Portage, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties at our state-of-the-art office in Solon, Ohio. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.