How to be a sole survivor when blisters leave you feeling a bit out of step
Ahead of the Belfast Marathon on Monday, Lisa Salmon has tips to help you avoid ending up feeling footsore on race day
Pesky little things, blisters. At best, they can fill your day with discomfort, and at worse, ruin a night out (new high heels, ladies?), and even prevent you exercising if they're really bad, while you wait for them to heal.
Friction and pressure caused by repeated rubbing from badly-fitting footwear and socks, and too much moisture between the foot and sock, can cause blisters to form, and anything from wearing new shoes (or last year's summery sandals), unsuitable socks, going for a long walk or a running in ill-fitting footwear can trigger this.
The fluid-filled bubbles can also be caused by foot deformities, and can particularly afflict people with pre-existing conditions, like diabetes.
As a spokesperson for AXA PPP healthcare explains: "Blisters begin as small pink spots caused by friction or pressure, turning white as they worsen. Fluid collects under the damaged skin to cushion the tissue underneath, and new skin eventually begins to grow there.
"Most blisters heal naturally after three to seven days if further friction is avoided. The body slowly re-absorbs the fluid inside the blister and the white skin on top dries and eventually peels off.
"However, if the blister turns yellow or green, or the skin around it becomes red and inflamed, it may be infected and need medical treatment.
"After a blister bursts, it's best to leave as much skin around it as possible, to act as a natural bandage as the area heals."
TOP TIPS FOR PREVENTING BLISTERS
There are plenty of things you can do to avoid getting blisters, says The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists:
- Wear comfortable, well-fitting footwear, especially on long walks or runs
- Wear good walking socks in the correct size. Look for socks made of fibres with good 'wicking' properties
- Try wearing special 'dual layer' socks, which eliminate friction at the skin surface
- Change to fresh socks if they become damp
- Ensure the tongue and laces of your shoes/boots are arranged correctly and evenly
- Check feet carefully and regularly for any sign of rubbing and tenderness
AND WHAT TO DO IF BLISTERS DO STRIKE
- If you feel a blister developing, take your boots and socks off, examine your feet and apply material cushioning or padding, or a breathable waterproof plaster as soon as possible
- If a blister occurs, don't pop it. Cut a hole in a piece of foam or felt, forming a 'doughnut' over the blister, and tape it in place, or cover with a soft gel-type dressing
- Treat an open blister with mild soap and water; and cover it with an antiseptic ointment and a protective soft gel dressing to prevent infection and speed healing.
For more information about blisters, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQWBHkXkdG0