Who would think a small pocket of fluid under the skin can ruin a perfectly good sports game when it comes on? We’ve had a few netballers come through the clinic so this article is written with them in mind but essentially the principles of blister care and prevention can be applied to anyone playing any kind of sport.
So what are blisters?
Blisters are one of the most common injuries netballers suffer. Particularly along the side of the big toe, under the arch and on the heels. The skin of many athletes, particularly netballers is subjected to friction related forces and compounded by perspiration and sweat. Blisters, particularly foot blisters are very painful and can have a significant impact on sporting performance, which can become very frustrating, especially if it continues to occur.
What Causes a Blister?
There are two main causes for blisters:
- Friction: Constant high pressure areas resulting in ‘hotspots’ due to the skin stretching e.g. when we constantly pivoting off the same area of your toe or poor fitting footwear, socks, bony prominences, foot inefficiency and incorrect fitting can increase areas of high pressure.
- Moisture: Excessive moisture or perspiration can be a big problem when liquid tends to stay in our socks and on our skin. This excess moisture makes the skin weak and when combined with that constant stretch of the skin, results in painful blisters.
Our 5 Top Tips to Avoid and Care For Blisters
Here are our 5 top tips on how to prevent foot blisters and eliminate the formation of a ‘hotspot’:
Tip 1: Getting shoes professionally fitted, ensuring they are not too big or too small
Tip 2: ‘Breaking in’ new shoes. Allow yourself a slow build up to wearing your new shoes. Avoid wearing them for the first time when you’re training or playing a game. Wear them at occasions that will allow you to stop and take them off if you feel any irritation.
Tip 3: Choosing well fitting, special socks specific to your sport that have moisture wicking properties, such as Feetures, Lightfeet or Experia
Tip 4: Apply petroleum jelly such as Vaseline to the affected area and cover with Elastoplast to prevent friction.
Tip 5: Use Fixomull tape to cover all areas that are prone to blisters. This acts as a second skin to help protect the underlying skin from first contact and irritation.
The repair process of blisters starts 24hrs after the incident and generally heal in approximately five days. At the first sign of a blister, the aggravating source should be removed and an adhesive bandage should be applied, to act as a barrier between the skin and shoe, protecting the blistered skin and preventing infection.
If blisters continue to be a constant problem during your netball and sporting games we would love to help you down at the clinic. Here at The Footcare Clinic we can assess your foot function, footwear and biomechanics to gain a thorough background of what the main underlying cause of blisters, helping you reach your goals of staying active.