First of all, it is important that we understand that the blister in the sports environment is generated in response to pressure and, above all, to the friction maintained in certain areas of the foot, especially in sports such as hiking and mountaineering. For this reason, the appearance of these dermal lesions are usually common in the areas with the most contact, such as the upper part of the toes, the heel, the pads, or the sole of the foot.
What are the CAUSES of its appearance?
The blister is generated after maintaining that pressure and friction on the foot for a time. For this reason, they appear more commonly on days when we do long distances, but they can also be generated in short stretches by the use of footwear that excessively compresses some areas of the foot. Therefore, it should be noted that a mountaineer has blisters from the friction between the foot, the sock and the boot, not from the compression of the boot. However, the use of excessively large sports shoes in which the foot is not supported is also not recommended since the movement of the foot inside the boot can cause chafing and blisters.
Other aspects that promote the appearance of this skin lesion are humidity and heat. In summer blisters are more frequent since increasing foot sweating creates a more humid environment that favors "maceration" and weakens the skin, contributing to the appearance of blisters. In both factors it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the sock. A sock that maintains moisture or has seams in pressure zones may be to blame for the generation of a blister. It is important to use technical socks that keep the foot cool, evacuating sweat and moisture, and that do not have seams whose relief can facilitate the creation of the blister by rubbing.
One of our most common tips due to its importance is that it is not recommended to never wear a boot when going to a demanding mountain. It can be used in training progressively, so that it adapts little by little to the foot.
It is not only in the sports environment that blisters or chafing are frequent, since they are also very common on a daily basis due to various factors.
The aspects that we must take into account to avoid the appearance of blisters on our feet are:
-Use of correct boot. The boot must be of the right size, you must neither press the foot nor let it loose during sports activities. It is very important to try the new boots in short runs and with the socks that we are going to use in the mountains. In this way, any warning sign such as redness or pain can be appreciated since the blister does not appear immediately.
-Use of thermal sock to promote perspiration and keep the foot cool during sports.
-Hydrate the feet. It is very important to keep your feet hydrated throughout the year. To do this, we recommend using a cream on a regular basis, since the skin of the feet is up to 40 times thicker than that of the cheek. There are some foot creams, their regular use will help maintain proper hydration of the feet.
-Use of petroleum jelly. It is recommended to use petroleum jelly in the areas of greatest risk of blistering, such as the heel, dorsal and lateral area of the toes.
-Protect the most sensitive areas. If you have had blisters on your feet before, we recommend protecting areas where they have been previously. One trick is to use a bit of "artificial skin" held in a plaster on these most delicate spots.
The treatment to be applied will depend on the size and the discomfort that the blister generates when we enjoy our favorite sport. If this skin lesion is very small and does not generate pain, the ideal is to keep the skin clean and apply an antiseptic such as iodine on top to promote drying of the skin and prevent infections.
In the event that the ampoule is larger and painful, it is recommended to drain the liquid, which can be transparent or bloody depending on the overload it has withstood. To do this, you have to wash the area with soap and water, and disinfect it by applying iodine on top. After that, the ampoule must be punctured to remove the liquid with a sterile needle, that is, those used by healthcare personnel to give injections. If you do not have this type of needle, you can use a sewing needle that you have previously burned to disinfect it.
Some people prick the ampoule with a sewing thread needle, cut through the ampoule, and cutting the thread leaves a small piece on each side of the puncture. The goal is to keep the hole open. It is important not to remove the skin that covers the blister since this skin is the best dressing that we can use to protect the skin underneath.
A BLISTER IN THE MIDDLE OF CLIMBING, WHAT DO I DO?
If the blister appears during an escalation and causes discomfort, the best option is to stop and treat it. First of all, you have to drain the liquid (if there is one) and disinfect the area. After that, a protection should be placed to be able to continue with our expedition, especially in cases where the skin that covers the blister has been completely or partially detached.
As we have mentioned, the best option is to keep the skin of the blister without cutting it, but many times the blister has been able to break and the superficial skin has disappeared. The exposed skin is very sensitive and it is very painful to step directly on it. For this reason, the way to protect it, once disinfected, is to put a piece of "second skin" or "artificial skin" that covers the entirety of the injured area. The "second skin" or "artificial skin" is a kind of viscous film, usually a hydrogel, that will protect the area without sticking to it.
Subsequently, the "artificial skin" is covered with an elastic plaster so that it does not move. If we are climbing a long-distance mountain, it is advisable to place a bandage on top, attached to the ankle, to prevent the dressing from moving.
One of our tips is not to cover the place where a blister has appeared with any dressing that contains adhesive, since when you take it off you can damage the area where the skin injury has occurred. This is one of the reasons why we use a piece of hydrogel to cover the damaged surface.
To avoid infections and use the appropriate clinical materials, it is advisable to go to a professional for the drainage and total healing of this injury.
HOW TO TREAT THE AMPOULE AFTER COMPLETING THE RACE
Once we finish the mountain we recommend removing the dressings, washing the area with soap and water and applying iodine on top to help prevent an infection and promote drying. Placing your feet in cold water is also a good solution that will help decongest your feet after exercise and lower inflammation in the blister area.
Afterwards, the ideal is to leave the feet “in the air” as long as possible applying and on the lesion iodine so that it dries the skin.
As always in health, the ideal is to bet on prevention and in this case it is very important to take the appropriate measures to avoid generating blisters.
This excursion can take place from to
This is not recommended for pregnant women, people with neck or back problems, people with haemophilia, asthma or epilepsy or for people with heart problems.