Friction blisters

Friction blisters, caused by rubbing against the skin, can be prevented by reducing the friction to a level where blisters will not form. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.

Blisters on the feet can be prevented by wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and clean socks. Blisters are more likely to develop on skin that is moist, so socks that manage moisture or frequent sock changes will aid those with particularly sweaty feet. While exercising or playing sports, special sports socks can help keep feet drier and reduce the chance of blisters. Before going for a long walk, it is also important to ensure that shoes have been properly broken in.

Even before a "hot" or irritated area on the foot is felt, taping a protective layer of padding or a friction-reducing interface between the affected area and the footwear can prevent the formation of a blister.[7] Bandages, moleskin and tapes generally must be applied to the foot daily, and most have a very high coefficient of friction (COF), but a friction management patch applied to the shoe will remain in place much longer, throughout many changes of socks and insoles.

To avoid friction blisters on the hands, gloves should be worn when using tools such as a shovel or pickaxe, or doing manual work such as gardening.

A lubricant, typically talcum powder, can be used to reduce friction between skin and apparel in the short term. People put talcum powder inside gloves or shoes for this purpose, this type of lubricant will increase the friction in the long term, as it absorbs moisture. Increased friction makes blisters more likely. Treatment First and foremost, the irritation must be stopped. Then, most blisters heal naturally and do not require medical attention. As new skin grows beneath the blister, the fluid contained within it will slowly be reabsorbed by the body and the skin on top will dry and peel off. A dressing may be placed over the blister to protect it, and some sort of emollient may be used to keep the skin soft as it heals. Soaking the blister in warm water may also provide temporary pain relief during the healing process.

To prevent a blister, use gloves, socks, a bandage or similar protective covering over the area being rubbed. Special athletic socks are available that have extra padding in critical areas. You might also try attaching moleskin to the inside of your shoe where it might rub, such as at the heel.

Shoe-shopping tips Remember the following when you shop for shoes:

* Shop during the middle of the day. Your feet swell throughout the day, so a midday fitting will probably give you the best fit. * Wear the same socks you'll wear when walking, or bring them with you to the store. * Measure your feet. Shoe sizes change throughout adulthood. * Measure both feet and try on both shoes. If your feet differ in size, buy the larger size. * Go for flexible, but supportive, shoes with cushioned insoles. * Leave toe room. Be sure that you can comfortably wiggle your toes. * Avoid shoes with seams in the toe box, which may irritate bunions or hammertoes.
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