How to Prevent and Treat Foot Blisters

With the winter quickly coming to an end (this year we didn’t have much of a winter to begin with!), you’re probably eager to put away your winter boots so you can dust off your rubber boots (for all the sloppy rain we’re getting) and spring shoes. You might even be tempted to do a little shoe shopping so you’re on-trend for the new season.


Changing footwear or buying new shoes means that your feet will need to get accustomed to the new and different shoes you choose to put on your feet. If you don’t give your shoes a chance to mould to the current shape of your feet, you might be in for a painful awakening: blisters.


Everyone, we’re certain, has experienced blisters on the back of their heels, side of their big or little toes, or bottom of their feet at some point in their lives. Blisters can develop quickly and last for a few days to a week depending on their severity, but they can also be easily prevented.


Blisters are small bubbles of fluid (serum or plasma) that develop in the top layers of the skin. They’re usually caused by friction, burning or freezing. The fluid build-up is there to protect deeper levels of the skin, but with excessive friction, blisters can burst and the raw skin underneath can become infected.


So how can you ensure you stay blister-free this spring? Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings shares these top 5 tips for preventing foot blisters:


  1. Wear shoes that fit well. Anything too tight or too loose will cause excessive friction, which will lead to a blister. Shoes that squeeze your feet or taper at the toes, such as many high heels and dress shoes, will be more likely to cause a blister. Try to choose something with a rounded or square toe to avoid pinching and squeezing.
  2. Proper socks are important too. Cotton absorbs moisture best and will reduce friction. If you’re hiking or walking or running long distances, you might want to consider wearing two pairs of socks — a very thin wicking sock first, with a thicker cotton sock over top. Wear shoes that provide decent ventilation, made from canvas, leather, mesh or other breathable materials.
  3. It might be tempting to wear your new shoes for long periods of time (for example, to work, a night out, or walking or running long distances), but at our Toronto foot clinic, we recommend that you break in new shoes. Wear them for 1-2 hours at a time so that the shoes can gradually mould to the shape of your feet. After a few wears they will be good to go for longer periods.
  4. Insoles and custom orthotics will certainly help prevent blisters if you have a job that puts you on your feet all day. At our downtown Toronto podiatry clinic, Chris Hastings, DMP, can assess your feet and create custom orthotics specific to your feet.
  5. If you know you are prone to foot blisters, apply a lubricant such as Vaseline to your known problem areas. This will lessen friction. You can also tape the sensitive areas of your feet using Moleskin or Band-Aids to protect your feet from any chafing.


If you are unsure of the fit of your shoes, or have recurring blisters, contact Chris Hastings at his Toronto podiatry clinic today.

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