Foot Blister Prevention: What You Can Recommend To Athletes
- Volume 15 - Issue 4 - April 2002
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Pertinent Treatment Tips
Since it’s not always possible to prevent blisters, it is important to relieve pain, prevent enlargement or infection, and promote a speedy recovery when they do occur. Small, intact blisters that don’t cause discomfort usually don’t need treatment. The best protection against infection is a blister’s own skin or roof. To protect the roof, you can cover this type of blister with a small adhesive bandage or blister guard.
However, you should drain larger or painful blisters that are intact without removing the roof. Proceed to apply an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage. Remind runners to change their dressings daily.
If you’re dealing with blisters that have large tears, you should “unroof” them and cleanse the base thoroughly with soap and water or an antibacterial cleanser. Then cover it with an antibiotic ointment and bandage.
Additional padding may be necessary for continuing sports activity. Ring-shaped pads made of felt will protect small blisters. Larger blisters may require dressings such as DuoDerm (ConvaTec), Spenco 2nd Skin (Spenco Medical Corporation), Vigilon (CR Bard, Inc.), or Opsite (Smith & Nephew United). Doughnut-shaped paddings may be used in conjunction with these dressings.
Dr. Caselli (pictured) is Vice-President of the greater New York Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine and is a Professor in the Dept. of Orthopedic Sciences at New York College of Podiatric Medicine.
Dr. Chen-Vitulli is a podiatric orthopedic resident at the V.A. Hudson Valley Health Care System in Montrose, N.Y.
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