Let's see what the research shows
The American and British military have performed quite a bit of blister research in years gone by. It's easy to see why: standard issue boots, extended periods on the feet and potentially in the same socks, not always having medical help in easy reach, hot and humid climates, etc. These factors make foot blisters a big deal for the military. Prominent blister researchers such as Knapik, Sulzberger, Akers and Comaish were all military-commissioned. And it was very early on that the concept of blister proneness was demonstrated.
3 studies that demonstrate blister proneness
Study 1: 1955
An early experimental blister study on 19 volunteer British medical students and doctors, showed blistering occurred between 27 and 138 rubs. The middle of the shin was used in this experiment. You'll find the research here.
Study 2: 1966
Another study 11 years later was conducted on 54 American army personnel. Some soldiers blistered in 3 minutes and others still hadn't blistered even after 50 minutes. The exact same frictional force was used on all subjects! It was applied to the palm of the hand - palmar (hand) skin and plantar (foot) skin are considered very similar. Read that study here.
Study 3: 2013
This one is a lot more recent (non-military). It was performed at the University of Salford in England on 30 volunteers. The frictional force was applied to the back of the heel. It found that blister onset ranged from between 4 and 32 minutes. Quite a difference again! That study here.
Let's see those results again
- 27 and 138 rubs
- 3 and 50 minutes
- 4 and 32 minutes
That's a big variation to the same shear force. And it's the perfect demonstration of the large individual variation of susceptibility to blisters.
The real-life cost of being blister prone?
Does this sound familiar to you? It does to me. My feet blister very easily!
Being blister prone can shape your lifestyle! It can force you to give up sports you're good at and activities you enjoy. Just read the note below from one of our customers. And I know of a basketballer and a triathlete who both gave away their sport prematurely, with persistant foot blisters figuring in their decision. Plus an underground miner who found it necessary to change his occupation because of ongoing foot blisters.
If you're blister prone and you can't find a way to get your blister problem under control, there comes a time when you're just not prepared to put up with the pain any longer. And it's not just the pain, it's everything else that goes with it - it's time consuming, messy and an all-round inconvenience!
And all because of foot blisters!
If you’re blister prone, chances are you've tried a lot of blister products and prevention strategies already … with limited success. But have you tried everything? There are a lot of options! Read this page to learn about all the different ways to prevent blisters and just make sure you've tried everything before you give up.
Written by Rebecca Rushton
Rebecca is an Australian podiatrist with over 20 years experience. She has spent a lifetime dealing with her own blister prone feet in her sporting and everyday life. Rebecca specialises in helping athletes and sports medicine professionals figure out how to manage foot blisters with ease. And for kicks, she enjoys providing blister care at multiday ultramarathon events.
Rebecca is the founder of Blister Prevention and author of "The Blister Prone Athlete's Guide To Preventing Foot Blisters".