Did you know?

For most people, each foot produces cup of sweat in 12 hours of light activity? For more intense activity or hot humid weather, each foot may give off as much as 1 cup in 12 hours.

(Source: WL Gore & Associates Inc. Institute of Applied Physiology. Technical University of Munich, Germany.)

Blisters 101

In order to successfully prevent or treat blisters, it is important to have a basic understanding of how they form.

Blisters are the most common sports injury. The pain can severely interrupt the performance of an athlete — distance runners, hikers, hunters and non-athletes alike. The most frequent protocol is after-care: treating a blister for days following activity to promote healing and protect against continued skin damage.

Blisters are Caused by Friction.

Blisters are caused by friction forces: a component of rubbing. Moisture is a contributing factor because it causes higher friction forces and softens/weakens outer skin layers.

Blisters can be prevented by sufficiently reducing repetitive friction against the skin. Friction forces can be reduced to levels where blisters will not form.

diagram: formation of a blister

What Contributes to Friction, Heat & Moisture Problems?

  • Poorly fitted footwear (too small, too big, seams in poor locations)
  • Poorly constructed sock (fabric, seams & weave)
  • Debris in footwear
  • Frequent changes in terrain
  • New footwear or insoles
  • Unconditioned feet
  • Foot irregularities (hammer toe, Morton's toe, bony protrusions)
  • Laces too loose or too tight
  • The list goes on and on …

Four Goals of Treatment:

  1. Control further blister enlargement
  2. Avoid infection
  3. Minimize pain and discomfort
  4. Speed up recovery time

Four Goals of Treatment:

  • After about 6 hours, skin begins recovery
  • Blistered skin will substantially recover within about 5-7days
    (Without further irritation caused by continued activity)

Blister Care Options:

  1. Bandages and Tapes: displace some of the friction; act as protective outer barrier layer to protect the skin from trauma. Must be applied daily.
  2. Socks (single layer, double layer, performance socks, etc.): designed to displace friction forces and manage moisture caused by heat and sweat. Available in hundreds of styles and materials. Effectiveness depends on sock material characteristics.
  3. Friction Management Interfaces: ENGO Blister Prevention Patches allow athletes to lower friction forces in areas where hot spots and blisters commonly form; effectively preventing blisters altogether. Patches remain in place for extended period of time. Effectiveness does not depend on sock type, footwear or insole / footbed chosen.

Introducing Friction Management

By providing a low-friction component between the skin and friction-causing footwear, blisters are effectively prevented. Tamarack Habilitation Technologies, Inc. of Minnesota introduced ENGO® Blister Prevention Patches in 2004 after recognizing the need for an effective and long-lasting product to aide athletes with their blister problems. ENGO® has been proven through rigorous testing to effectively prevent blisters and greatly reduce the pain of existing blisters.

Sources on Blister Care

Here are two highly recommended resources for foot and blister care.

Fixing Your Feet, 5th Edition
by John Vonhof

Blister Prevention Report
by Rebecca Rushton BSc (Pod)

Foot Blister Prevention eBook
by Rebecca Rushton BSc (Pod)

Treatment Skin Blisters - Blister On Bottom Of Foot - Blister On Foot