Are blisters inevitable? The short answer is, no!

Sure, they’re common. But that doesn’t mean they’re inevitable.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s:

  • Walking or running
  • Playing netball or tennis
  • Hot or humid weather
  • Or simply getting new shoes

Blisters are avoidable!

But there are a lot of people who can’t seem to get on top of their blisters. Either their prevention efforts don’t help at all, or they don’t work with any reliability or certainty.

It’s completely frustrating – I know!

 

My Blister Story

There was a time when my heels seemed to be in a constant state of blisters or blister recovery. I wasn’t doing anything extreme – just walking my dog for 30 minutes every morning.

Being a podiatrist, I had top quality and well-fitted shoes and socks on. Plus my orthotics. I live in a rather mild climate and my feet aren’t particularly sweaty. And I taped my heels every morning with either rigid sports tape or Fixomull Stretch (or both).

So in my mind, there was nothing was rubbing my heels – there was no friction. How could there be, they were perfectly and professionally taped. Yet I was still getting blisters and I could not understand why. I was certainly starting to think blisters were inevitable for me.

At the time, I thought blisters were caused by rubbing (friction).

 

What Do You Think Causes Blisters?

If you’re like most people, you’ll say HEAT, MOISTURE & FRICTION. So you concentrate on two things:

  1. Trying to keep your feet cool and dry – Because we know dry skin has a lower friction level.
  2. Stopping things from rubbing against your skin – So you probably tape your feet, like I did.

 

Here’s the thing…

When you keep getting blisters, you soon realise it’s IMPOSSIBLE to keep your feet cool and dry.

And that’s when you resign yourself to the inevitablity of foot blisters.

But blisters are NOT inevitable!

 

Shift Your Focus

You can have extremely hot and sweaty feet, yet you can achieve effective and reliable blister prevention, if you just shift your focus away from heat, moisture and friction.

I know that’s a big ask! This heat, moisture and friction causation paradigm is deeply entrenched.

However, the fact is, blisters are caused by repetitive shear distortion.

Think of it as the bones moving back and forth while the force of friction keeps the surface of your skin stationary. That’s right, friction isn’t rubbing – it’s the opposite – it’s the force that resists rubbing. There’s a lot of resistance to rubbing between your skin, sock and shoe – so much so that they all stay in stationary contact for longer than you think. Yet the bones move back and forth. And everything in between is made to stretch and distort.

When I taped my heels, the tape didn’t help friction levels – my skin, tape, sock and shoe all remained in stationary contact with one another while my heel bone moved up and down within my foot with every step. That’s why my heels never seemed to get better.

What I needed to do was reduce friction by using something slippery that allowed a little bit of slip – somewhere between my skin, sock and/or shoe. That’s what I did when I used an ENGO Blister Patch. The low friction patch was like a sticker that stuck to my shoe. That low friction material on my shoe provided an extremely low resistance to my sock sliding over it ie: low friction force. I went from thinking blisters are inevitable to being blister-free. I was amazed!

The fact was the slippery patch let my sock move easily up and down against it. And this meant the surface of my skin was able to move more in sync with the heel bone. This is how friction management strategies work. They make things more slippery so the skin moves in synch with the inevitable bone movement at an earlier point in time, resulting in lower shear distortions.

This is how friction works with blisters.

Is That a Bit Different to What You Thought?

Surprisingly, for such a common injury, blisters are misunderstood. Their cause is not fully appreciated. And therefore the prevention strategies commonly thrown at them are not always on point, like friction management, which I’ve just explained.

To complete this point, have you ever heard of blister prevention strategies that absorb shear. Or spread shear load. Or the important influence of bone movement.

My point is, if you think blisters are inevitable, perhaps this helps you see there is more to it.

 

the ways bllister prevention strategies work

The ways blister prevention strategies can work – Your podiatrist can help you find the best prevention for your blister.

 

See Your Podiatrist

Podiatrists are experts in foot health. We’re learning more about the cause of blisters and how you can prevent them in the most effective way possible, for all the different parts of your foot. Blisters are not inevitable. So my advice is, see your podiatrist. They’ll have a good look at your foot structure and function, discuss what you’ve tried before that hasn’t worked, and all sorts of things.

Failing that, read this for some theory. Then search this site for your blister location and I’ll show you my picks for the best blister prevention strategies.