Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dealing with blisters

Ahh, a nice new pair of red high heels that make your legs look long and sexy. Until you get home from a night of dancing and you don't feel so sexy with that throbbing blister on your heel. Okay...so for me it isn't red high heels, and we don't go dancing. It's more like a pair of tennis shoes from Payless and chasing after a rambunctous 4 year old. LOL Either way, here's some information that might help relieve the pain.

Blisters are your body's way of saying it's had enough. Be it too much friction or too much ambition, a blister—much like a muscle cramp or side stitch—is designed to slow you down and make you better prepared for physical activity.

Though the following remedies concentrate on blisters of the feet, many of these recommendations can be applied to treating friction blisters on the hands or on any other part of the anatomy where your body has said slow down.

Decide whether to prick or not to prick. Once you have a blister, you have to decide what's best to do with it. That is, should you protect it and leave it alone, or should you prick it and drain the fluid?

Experts say you should prick large blisters that are painful, while leaving intact smaller blisters that cause no discomfort. Also, blisters that are likely to break on their own should be drained by you. That way, you can control when and how the blister is opened, instead of leaving it to chance.

Be wise and sterilize. For those who wish to drain a blister, the first thing to do is clean the blister and surrounding skin, and sterilize your "instrument." You should sterilize the blister and surrounding area with alcohol. Also, use alcohol to sterilize the needle. Or you can heat the needle with a flame until it is red hot, however, let it cool before touching the skin.

Keep the roof on. "I think the biggest mistake most people make when treating their own blisters is that after they drain it they pull off the roof—the skin that goes over the top of the blister—and this is a terrible mistake," says Richard Cowin, D.P.M., director of Cowin's Foot Clinic in Libertyville, Illinois. Always leave that roof on, think of it as nature's Band-Aid.

Try a triple whammy for germs. Recent research has shown that triple antibiotics (such as Neosporin, to name one) can eliminate bacterial contamination from blisters after only two treatments, whereas old standbys such as iodine and camphor-phenol actually delay healing.

Keep the dressing simple. After you've treated the blister, you'll need to keep it covered and protected while it heals. Band-Aids are sterile inside the wrapper, so you're actually putting on a piece of sterile gauze that has the adhesive already in place.

Give it some air. Most doctors suggest that you remove your blister dressing nightly and let it get some air. "Air and water are very good for healing," says Dr. Cowin, "so soaking it in water and keeping it open to the air at night are helpful."

Change wet dressings. Though some physicians say you can leave a dressing on for two days without worry, all agree that if a dressing becomes wet for any reason "you can consider it contaminated and it should be changed." That means you may need to change it quite often if your feet perspire heavily or you engage in activities that will lead to sweating and damp dressings

Prevention is always the best option, so here's what experts recommend to keep blisters from developing in the first place.

Try a heel lift. Blisters that appear on the back of the foot usually result from the shoe's heel counter hitting the back of the heel in the wrong area. All you usually have to do is put in a heel lift at the back of the shoe.

Keep your socks on. "One of the fashions we're seeing again is people going without socks," Dr. Cowin says. "The people who do this suffer blisters on the back of their heels all the time." He recommends that those who want to flash some ankle without suffering the consequences invest in "footie type socks that only go around the foot area." These are available for both men and women nowadays, and they are much better than going sockless.

Powder daily. "Powder should be everybody's friend," says Dr. Conrad. "Make powdering your feet part of a daily routine."

"When people come in with shoes that fit but that still give them blisters," says Dr. Cowin, "I simply tell them to start off by applying baby powder to their feet before putting on their socks. This helps the sock to glide over the foot a little more and prevent blisters."

Coat to protect. If you're planning a long walk, run, tennis match, or whatever, one way to guard against blistered feet in new shoes is to coat blister-prone areas with petroleum jelly. "That will cut down on friction," says Dr. Conrad.

Dr. Ellis says A&D Ointment (typically used for diaper rash) is actually thicker than petroleum jelly, "and the thicker the better," he says. For walkers or runners who insist on going without socks, greasing up blister-prone areas is highly recommended.

Try new socks for new shoes. "If you've got a new pair of shoes that are rubbing up blisters, the first thing I'd do is change to different socks," says Dr. Ellis. "I recommend acrylic socks (available in sporting goods stores) because they're made in layers that are designed to absorb friction so your foot doesn't."

Toughen with tannic acid. Studies have shown that applying 10 percent tannic acid to vulnerable areas of the skin twice daily for two to three weeks makes the skin tough and less prone to blisters. "If you're a hard-core athlete or distance runner, you can use something like that," says Dr. Conrad. "But weekend athletes and beginners really don't have any business using tannic acid unless it's been suggested by a physician."

HOME REMEDY-- If you don't have any triple antibiotic I did find this helpful home remedy. I actually used this when one of my toe nails became infected and fell off. It seemed to work pretty good and my toenail bed healed well.
Broken Blisters

To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine®... a powerful antiseptic.

Have a great day!
Jill Marie

4 comments:

~Rebecca Anne~ said...

Blisters are my true enemy when I go trekking in the wilderness for a week or so at a time. I've yet to find the miracle hiking boot that fits my feet like perfection and I avoid the tortures of my feet rubbing off by the end of the week.
BUT, there are several idea's here I haven't tried to keep my foot misery at bay. Thank you for the ideas!
Rebecca

Dawn said...

Great ideas... thanks!

Indigo said...

Awesome ideas. Like you and Rebecca it's not the high heels, it's the hiking boots, or sketchers that take my heel off. Thanks for this, I just might try a few. (Hugs)Indigo

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