Please god help my blistered feet
May 8, 2007 5:42 PM   Subscribe

How do I stop getting these huge blisters on my feet whenever I do certain sports?

I just got home from an hour of basketball and once again have large, hurty blisters on both feet! This happens to me anytime I do any kind of sport that requires rapid lateral changes of direction, such as basketball, soccer, football etc.

They are always large (quarter-sized or so), in the same spot (along the inner edge of the ball of my feet), and on both feet. I can feel it when they form -- I plant and change direction, and it feels like the top layer of skin is kind of shearing off the underlying layers. yuck.

I've tried a lot of the recommended treatments for foot blisters like double socks and taping the spot but haven't had any luck. It happens with a lot of different kinds of shoes (general cross-trainers, soccer cleats, running shoes, etc.) I almost never get blisters when walking or jogging, just during these explosive type starts and stops.

One thing that may conceivably be an issue is my weight; I am about 225 lbs, 5'10", but I still had the exact same problem a few years ago when i was 35 lbs lighter and a lot more fit. So I kind of suspect it's not that, but I'm open to thoughts on the matter.

Anyone had this kind of trouble? What helped? A certain kind of shoe? Smaller shoes? Inserts of some kind? Just gritting your teeth and doing it a lot til you get calloused? (I've tried that, they pop and then i get new blisters underneath the old ones... boo).

Failing that, anyone know one of those really good shoe stores in Toronto where the foot gurus can look at how I run and have some insight?
posted by sergeant sandwich to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
This usually means your shoes don't fit well. What causes blisters is your feet moving inside your shoe. Better fitting shoes should fit like a glove (as it were) and will reduce that a lot.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:44 PM on May 8, 2007

I second that your shoes are probably too big.
posted by chrisamiller at 5:59 PM on May 8, 2007

Best answer: Are you wearing cotton socks? Try getting some specialized sports socks NOT made of cotton. Spandex, polyester, and polypropylene are all good choices. I get crazy blisters when I exercise in cotton socks, but nothing with the other ones.
posted by AaRdVarK at 6:24 PM on May 8, 2007

Second the recommendations above and also try putting duct tape over the hotspots (before they blister). Also, the way to develop calluses is to stop before the blisters form.
posted by Manjusri at 6:52 PM on May 8, 2007

Best answer: Go to the Running Room. There are a number of locations but the biggest one is in Commerce Court (Bay & Wellington).

Going from cotton socks to non-blister socks made all the difference for me when running. I thought it was just a gimmick but it isn't.
posted by loiseau at 7:41 PM on May 8, 2007

In addition to the above, you could try a protective layer of new skin and/or a protective coating of body glide.
posted by nevers at 7:41 PM on May 8, 2007

Ditto the Body Glide, because blisters are exacerbated by sweat...but just buy regular ole antiperspirant.
posted by radioamy at 8:32 PM on May 8, 2007

Athletic tape. Period.

no rub = no blister.
posted by Slenny at 9:01 PM on May 8, 2007

I had the same problem with explosive stops and starts, and I've found a solution that works for me.

Firstly, I've found over many years that going all out until you get callouses just doesn't work very well at all. Blisters form callouses far far stronger and quicker if they don't pop, and are instead left for the few days necessary for the fluid to be reabsorbed. This will not work very well either if the blister is large - you need the skin to become re-attached and harden, not slough off.
So what you do is a few weeks of sacrifice - during which period you have to stop your activity as soon as you feel the blister forming (which is hard to make yourself do if the activity is the middle of a game, but it's only for a while). Give it a few days to harden, then repeat. After a while, the areas are calloused enough to last the whole game.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:04 PM on May 8, 2007

Best answer: They sell something called "moleskin" in the drug store. It's felt with adhesive on the back. You trim it with scissors, remove the paper over the adhesive, and stick it on top of areas on your feet which are wearing too much. It feels a bit funny when you first do it but you get used to it rapidly, and it protects your skin against the rubbing that causes blisters.

However, if you put it on top of a blister that already exists, when you take it off again it'll probably rip the skin covering the blister right off.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:18 PM on May 8, 2007

In my experience, moleskin is best used to make a donut bandage around a pre-existing blister. Use scissors to cut a piece a little larger then the blister, then cut a hole in the middle for the blister to sit in. The idea to to prevent direct pressure on the blister, which will prevent popping and reduce pain.
posted by chrisamiller at 10:10 PM on May 8, 2007

Your feet will probably get used to it. They tend to adapt.

I used to get them all the time when playing football. They used to go away throughout the season though, because my foot would develop a thicker skin. Much the same way that, if you spend all your time walking around in bare feet, your soles toughen up. Or the way that thongs (flip-flops) hurt the first time you wear them (as summer approaches), but then cease to the more times you wear them.
posted by kisch mokusch at 6:45 AM on May 9, 2007

Best answer: You say that you tried double socks, but did you try an actual sock liner? There's a difference between just doubling up two pairs of cotton or wool socks and wearing a real sock liner. Only a real sock liner will keep your feet as dry as possible and reduce the friction that causes blisters. Good liner socks are usually very thin, made of polypro, CoolMax, or some other wicking material, and should allow the outer sock to slide smoothly over your feet without any friction.

I had terrible problems with blisters when backpacking until I discovered good liners (I've had good luck with these and these). I haven't had a blister since.
posted by dseaton at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2007

Response by poster: thanks everyone. i'll give some of these suggestions a try!
posted by sergeant sandwich at 6:09 PM on May 9, 2007

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