Ouch! I'm sure almost everyone has had a blister and hence everyone understands how painful they can be. Unfortunately blisters are often cast aside as not a true injury and sometimes as simply just a complaint. However naturally our bodies avoid pain and hence blisters can slash confidence during games and dramatically reduce performances.
You may remember Andy Murray's 2013 Australian Open Grand final loss. Murray was in great form coming into the tournament having won at Wimbledon, The Olympics, The US open and having beat Federer in the Semi Finals. Come the grand final however we saw Murray not only crippled by Djokorvic but multiple foot blisters.
There are countless methods for treating blisters but as with most things prevention is far better than any cure!
In order to understand how to prevent blisters is it is important to understand how they develop – blisters are a result of rubbing from inside the skin. I.e. When your bone moves and the skin on the outside moves in opposite directions the skin stretches and friction develops. This friction causes tearing of the inside skin layers and then fluid floods in between them. It is then the rubbing on the outside layer of the skin that causes the blister to pop and become raw.
In order to prevent blisters we need to eliminate 2 things – friction and moisture.
Friction is the most important factor!
Our Podiatrist Berni has recently been working with some of the netballers at The Port Fairy Football Netball club to assist in keeping them on the court and not on the sidelines popping blisters!
Berni has been using Engo blister prevention patches, an antifriction patch that is placed on the shoe, not on the skin to create an extremely low friction surface for the skin to glide over. These blister patches are a new favourite of ours and have a 500km guarantee, which makes us love them even more.
She has also been looking at shoe fit, lacing techniques, moisture wicking socks and biomechanical influences. All of which are part of the sometimes very complex blister puzzle.
You will notice that Vaseline is not included in her list of tricks. Many athletes have for years used Vaseline in an attempt to combat blisters, but it is not a treatment we recommend. While Vaseline does reduce the friction in the short term, over time and throughout a game it actually increases friction and weakens the skin making blisters more likely to form and tear. Not the mention the unstable surface it causes for the foot, which is another disaster waiting to happen!
Moisture wicking socks reduce the amount of sweat that stays on the skin again assisting in the reduction of friction and also assisting in reducing the risk of the skin weakening and tearing,
1. Swiss engineered 'X socks' for superior moisture wicking and antibacterial properties, these socks are a cut above and even offer a 2 year guarantee – available from our local Sports Power or http://www.wildfiresports.com.au
2. Experia socks as made by Thorlo – a lightly padded sock with an aerodynamic fit https://www.thorlo.com/activity/experia/experia-r-multi-sport-socks
3. Light feet – more padded than the Experia socks, while still having an aerodynamic fit - available from The Athletes Foot or http://www.lightfeet.com.au/lightfeet-socks/
We will keep you updated with the feet of the Port Fairy Netballers as they continue their good form on the way to the finals!
© Warrnambool Podiatry Group 2019