How to Prevent and Treat Blisters
One of the most annoying sports injuries is a blister. Even compared to the common ankle sprain, blisters are the most frequently treated sports-related injury out there. So let’s talk about how to prevent them and the best ways to treat blisters.
Blisters can form anywhere on your skin, usually as a result of rubbing or pulling the skin. Fluid collects between your layers of skin and creates a puff bubble. This fluid cushions the tissue underneath, protecting it from further damage.
Your feet have probably seen the most blisters. Shoes that are too loose or too tight, a blister can form. If your sports or work gear involves stiff straps that stay in place while you move, this can also create blisters.
As painful as one is, a blister forms to protect your skin and create a defensive area against further friction. If the blister is allowed to remain, the skin around thickens into a callous. Your body assumes that part of your skin needs more protection from friction in the future.
How to Stop a Blister from Forming
Blisters may seem inevitable, but if you’re aware of the warning signs, you can act and prevent the most painful and annoying part of a blister forming. On a long walk, run, or work shift is the most likely time for a blister to form and when you're most likely to not want to stop and treat a minor discomfort. However, early discomfort is a sign that you'll be dealing with blister pain soon.
The first sign of a blister is a feeling of heat and sometimes mild stinging. The skin will be red and feel a little bit swollen as blood rushes to the area to try and start the healing. Apply a little ointment and a blister pad or moleskin bandage. If you don't have a great first aid selection at hand, a little petroleum jelly and/or paper tape can help, too.
Draining a Blister
For a large blister, you may need to drain it to prevent a messy rupture when you're active later. Simply sterilize a needle or pin with a little fire and/or rubbing alcohol. Gently puncture the blister on one side and press the fluid out. Be careful to leave as much of the blistered skin in place as possible.
Treating an Open Blister
Popped and drained blisters need to be protected from infection. Keep it clean and cover it with antibiotic ointment each day before wrapping it up in soft layers or bandage to prevent further damaging friction.
The best way to prevent a blister is to remain aware of your body, treat hot spots when they occur, and adjust your gear or technique if blisters are a persistent problem.