Blisters: how they develop and how to prevent them

Everyone knows it: You ignore the slight rubbing on your feet until every step becomes more and more unpleasant. In the end, the pain is almost unbearable. We are talking about blisters. But what are the causes of blisters on the feet? How they occur? And how to prevent them before they develop?

Short basis to the skin

Our skin consists of several layers, which are normally interlocked by fine structures. Very superficially, the epidermis (lat. epidermis), which also includes the cornea. Underneath lies the dermis (lat. Dermis), where, among other things, the hair roots and sweat glands are located. The lowest layer, which is still counted as skin, is the so-called hypodermis (lat. Subcutis), which contains, among other things, the blood vessels.

How blisters develop?

This is how bubbles are created – the main influencing factors. | Graphic: Wrightsock

Whenever something rubs repeatedly, so-called shear forces act on the skin. The interlocking between the skin layers loosens after some time and tissue fluid flows into the newly created cavity. When deeper skin layers loosen, blood can also flow in.

On the one hand, this is clever because the fluid now protects the deeper layers of skin from even more pressure; on the other hand, the pressure in the tissue is increased. This activates the very sensitive pain corpuscles. And then the signal "pain" is transmitted to the brain via the sensitive nerve pathways.

  • Reading tipHow to treat blisters correctly

Preventing blisters while hiking: prophylactic measures

How to prevent blisters? The principle is simple – the implementation can be more difficult. The point is to avoid any form of friction on the feet when walking for a long time. Depending on your personal disposition and the "shape" of your feet, this can be easier or more difficult. Below you will find tips and tricks that can help prevent blisters and sore feet.

  • Reading Tip:8 tips for healthy feet while hiking

1. Suitable footwear

The most important of all rules: Always pay attention to good, suitable and registered footwear. Here it is worth investing a little more money, so that you have a shoe that really fits your foot perfectly. If foot problems are present, an individually adapted insole may be beneficial. The shoes must fit tightly, especially at the heel, and must not slip when walking, especially uphill.

Hiking boots must fit properly and should be broken in before the big trip. | Photo: Franziska v. Treuberg

When lacing, make sure that the heel is where it should be. If necessary, stop and lace up several times. New shoes, especially those made of synthetic materials, should always be broken in before longer trips. Otherwise, the following applies: test out and select the individually suitable mountain boot in the right size. The shoe size advisor helps with size selection.

2. The right socks

As an intermediate layer between shoe and foot, sports socks have an important function in preventing blisters. They serve as padding and keep the foot dry. The socks must fit perfectly in terms of size and not wrinkle. In addition, make sure you absorb sweat well – especially with waterproof shoes. Socks made of (merino) wool are a good choice, because they can absorb a lot of moisture and still feel dry. Cotton socks are to be avoided in any case when hiking. They lose their shape when wet and stick to the skin. Whether thicker or thinner socks are worn depends on the area of application, temperature and taste and must be tested in case of doubt. The sock and shoe should complement each other in terms of the area of application in any case. A running sock and a walking sock are simply designed differently.

Not only the shoes are crucial to prevent blisters. Socks also play an important role. The manufacturer Wrightsock has developed special anti-blister socks for this purpose, which effectively prevent friction. | Photo: Wrightsock

The manufacturer Wrightsock has specialized in making special anti-blister socks. These are double-layered, meaning the inner and outer sock can move in opposite directions to each other. Thus sock rubs against sock and not the sock on the skin. Alternatively, an undersock like the Rohner Protector Plus can also help against blisters on the feet. A good fit also have the compression socks of the manufacturer CEP. These are extra tight and thus prevent wrinkles. Smartwool’s PhD socks also stand for good climate management and a good fit – the 4 Degree Elite Fit System prevents slipping and pressure points and thus also blisters.

Hiking socks are the elementary lever to avoid blisters. Especially if you are sensitive here, you should attach importance to good socks.

3. Foot care

Since the real problem always ends up affecting the feet, you should also give them some attention. Who is sensitive, can test on smaller routes whether it helps to rub stressed places before with Vaseline. This reduces friction and thus the likelihood of developing bubbles. It is equally important to ensure dry feet, otherwise the callus will swell and you will be even more prone to blisters.

4. Foot training

Regular barefoot walking helps to make the feet less sensitive. In places subject to heavy wear, calluses gradually form, which serve as a protective layer during later wear and tear.

  • Reading Tip:How healthy is barefoot running? Prof. Dr. med. Interview with Wessinghage

5. Tape

If you have places where you know you are prone to blisters, a layer of tape or a band-aid can also help.

  • It is important to apply the tape to clean and dry skin and to ensure that it does not form any folds. Otherwise they can lead to blisters. Taper bands should be located in low-use areas.
  • It is important to use a strong and stable textile tape that does not come off when sweating. Leukotape® from the pharmacy is a very good choice here. It is a little more expensive, but also holds very well.

6. Blister plasters

If you go on longer tours, special blister plasters are recommended for prophylaxis (for example Compeed®). Compeed patches form a gel cushion over the skin and protect the taped area very well. Bubble plasters have the advantage that they do not soften the underlying skin. They can therefore stick to the foot for several days. As a rule, a Compeed blister plaster remains on the foot until it comes off on its own.

Preventing blisters on ski tours: What you need to bear in mind

Just as with hiking, blisters on the feet can quickly put an end to all the fun of skiing. Most of the above tips for prevention work the same way for ski touring. But with the stiff touring and freeride boots, a few additional things should be taken into account.

1. Suitable ski boots

Touring ski boots or freeride ski boots must fit perfectly and must not have play at the heel or cause pressure points. Otherwise, the formation of blisters is practically preprogrammed. Thermoformable inner shoes and special insoles or even gel pads, such as those from Sidas, can provide relief, but they quickly reach their limits if they are the wrong size. Useful tips on fit and two tests for checking the right size of ski boots can be found in the article What size ski boots do I need?? The Mondopoint size table.

2. Suitable ski socks

The following also applies when choosing ski socks: size and fit should match the feet. Whether the ski socks are made of merino wool or synthetic fiber, are particularly thin or have padding or are even heatable is then largely a matter of taste.

Here you will find everything you need for bladder treatment and first aid:

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: