Stop Those Painful Blisters on Feet

Every basketball player has experienced them at some time. Those painful blisters on feet that make running and cutting on the court impossible. Even the tiniest blister between the toes or on the ball, heel, or side of the foot can be debilitating.

Learn how to prevent and treat these nuisances with a few simple steps.

blisters on feet

Blisters on Feet
Blisters symptoms

Here's a simple blister definition: A small pocket of fluid that forms in the top layer of skin in response to injury or infection. This fluid cushion is a clever mechanism the body uses to protect the damaged tissue from further harm by encasing it until it can fully heal. 

The telltale signs of blisters are redness and pain followed by swelling and the buildup of fluid.

Blisters on Feet
How friction blisters form

During physical activity, the main cause of blisters is friction.

When the skin is continually rubbed against a rough surface like the inside of a shoe, sock, poorly fitted orthotic, loose insole, or a small foreign object, irritation and inflammation occur.

The sore spot turns red. If the activity were stopped immediately, no further damage would occur. 

However, if the sore continues to be irritated, the skin starts to tear. In response, the body sends fluids to fill the opening and protect the tissue underneath. Blisters can be incredibly painful to touch and to put pressure on.

Friction blisters typically resolve within a few days on their own or with home treatments. 

Blisters on Feet
How to avoid blisters

Moisture, heat, and pressure are all culprits to the formation of blisters. They each contribute to weakening the skin and making it more vulnerable to tearing. 

Here are some common risk factors for blisters with some keys for prevention:

Risk factors:

  • Humid, warm or damp environments
  • Wet feet, socks, shoes
  • Excessive sweating
  • Wearing thick non-absorbing socks
  • Wearing socks made out of synthetic material (like polyester and nylon) which don't allow air flow

Prevention:

  • Apply foot powder to reduce sweating
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks designed for athletes. They dry faster and reduce moisture
  • Dust inside of socks with talcum powder
  • Poorly fitting socks or shoes - too tight or too loose, rubs against skin
  • New shoes that haven't been broken in
  • Wearing shoes not designed for the basketball court
  • Wearing shoes without socks
  • Orthotics or insoles that are new or shift out of place during activity. 
  • Foot abnormalities that cause shoes shoes or socks to fit improperly
  • Properly fitted shoes
  • Add insole to create better fit and reduce friction
  • Glue or tape down shoe inserts or orthotics
  • Wear two pairs of socks
  • Apply powder or petroleum jelly to problem areas to reduce friction 
  • Attach moleskin to inside of shoe where it might rub
  • Apply moleskin donut around blister
  • Apply foot tape
  • Long-distance walking or running
  • Repeating a motion for longer than usual
  • Moving back and forth or side to side continuously
  • Carrying a heavy load
  • Stop activity immediately if you experience pain or discomfort or if your skin turns red
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