A blister is a fluid filled sack that forms beneath the upper layers of the skin, they can cause pain and discomfort and will usually be caused by trauma to the skin. Blisters are a very common occurrence in sport, so how exactly do you treat, prevent and care for blisters caused by sport.
In sport blisters will be most commonly caused by friction burns from footwear or equipment rubbing against the skin and can be exacerbated by moisture such as sweat.
Preventing blisters in sport is not easy but several steps can be taken in order to reduce the chance of suffering from a blister.
With the most common cause of blisters being an athlete’s footwear, it is crucial to ensure that your footwear fits correctly. Footwear should not rub or move excessively during activity and many people will wear in their footwear before rigorous activity.
Socks can also have a huge impact on an athlete’s susceptibility to blisters, socks should be used as protection for your skin from the rougher materials of your footwear.
The socks you wear need to reduce friction and provide adequate moisture wicking if they are going to be effective in preventing blisters.
Certain areas of the body you may find blister more than others, these can be protected with taping and strapping.
Premium Tan Zinc Oxide Tape is hard wearing and will provide a protective layer over the skin as well as being rayon coated which will reduce friction. Underwrap is also extremely useful as it can provide an extra layer of protection and padding to the affected area.
Don’t forget to not apply sticky tape directly over the top of an established blister.
A final method used to prevent blisters is lubricating the area where the skin will be suffering from friction burns, Petroleum Jelly is an effective lubricant but also a Lube Stick can be used and will be easier to carry around in a First Aid Kit.
A blister will heal naturally over time, however, there is no specific medical treatment available that will completely heal a blister, but you can speed up the process by protecting the area and preventing damage and infection.
Firstly, popping a blister will only prolong the recovery. As you are ending the body’s natural healing mechanism as well as making the area prone to infection.
If a blister grows to a large size causing large amounts of pain and discomfort, a doctor may syringe the fluid out in a sterile environment.
Covering the blister with a plaster will help protect the area if the blister is small enough. Hydrocolloid plasters will stay in place for up to a week and provide a gel-like coating which can be absorbed into the skin often drastically reducing the recovery time and pain relief.
For a larger affected area, use gauze as a padding to protect it.