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Facts about blister

Updated: Dec 26, 2020

How does a blister form:

It is a small pocket of fluid that forms under the skin. When the skin slides relative to its underlying bone, everything in between is moving. The movement creates a shearing/stretching force under the skin. When excessive shearing/ stretching happens, it will cause micro-tears to the tissue under the skin. The fluid then fills in and forms the blister.

The filling of the fluid within the blister may take up to 2 hours. Most of the time, the fluid within the pocket is clear; it is because of the blister forms at the more superficial layer (epidermis) of the skin that contains no blood vessel. However, when blisters form at a deeper layer of skin (dermis), blood may enter, and you may end up with a red blister/ blood blister.

Contributing factors of blister that we commonly heard of:

  • moisture; e.g.sweating / raining

  • ill-fitting shoes or orthotic

  • new shoes or socks

  • socks that retain too much moisture e.g., cotton

  • increasing the intensity of a workout

  • change of equipment, terrain, environment, and technique

Yes, they are, however, sometimes you may find that even in perfect shoes, you may end up with a blister. There are circumstances that you are suffering from blisters in a specific area that is hard to prevent by choosing the right shoes, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and applying lubricants/moisturiser. In case of that, you may consider some of the reasons below and seek help from the right person.

Biomechanics and intrinsic reasons contributing to blister are:

  • the foot structure: e.g., the shape of the heel bone/bunion/upward curled big toe. These may cause you not to fit into any shoes perfectly. Depending on the type of your foot, sometimes it helps with arch/ metatarsal support, heel lift, or padding under toe, etc. If you are not sure, please seek help from medical professionals, including podiatrists or physiotherapists.

  • the biomechanics:

  1. if your calf muscles are too tight, the Achilles tendon will exert extra force to the heel bone, causing it to move higher and sooner and increasing the chance of forming blisters.

  2. gait cycle; different stride lengths will push your foot under your body at different distances. The heels strike further away from your body, will increase the chance of forming blister under your heels.

Stretching of the calf muscles or changing the technique (e.g. running posture) may help you. Please be cautious that you should implement the change of routine gradually to prevent injury. Ask a coach or other health care professionals if you are not sure.

facts about blister, how does it form and prevention tips

9 Tips for friction blister prevention:

  • Make sure your shoes fit well and comfortable, not too tight or too loose.

  • Do not wear new shoes for distance hiking, gradually break in your new shoes.

  • Try on the shoes in the afternoon with the type and thickness of socks you intend to wear before distance hike.

  • Allow shoes to dry before wearing them.

  • Check your insole support; if it wears and tears or gets thin in a particular area, having a new one with more cushioning may help.

  • Wear breathable and moisture-wicking socks.

  • If you have a bony prominence on your feet, or your feet rub against specific areas of the shoes frequently. Try to use sole support or apply padding on the hot spot to reduce friction and pressure.

  • Keep the feet dry, it's difficult during exercises, consider changing to dry socks.

  • Gradually increase the distance, time, and weight you carry during the activity. Small changes each time, NOT the LAST MINUTE!

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