Your Friction Blister: Managing Skin Friction

by Rebecca Rushton

There's something you don't get about skin friction
And your friction blister needs you to know this!

Think back to your last blister …
That one on the back of your heel
Under the ball of your foot
Or on your toe.

You treated it with a plaster …
You know, to stop that friction.

But I bet you think friction is rubbing. It isn’t.
Skin friction... any friction... is about grip.
High friction means two surfaces grip together.
Low friction means they don’t … they’re slippery.

There is high friction in your shoe. There just is.
This means your skin grips your sock; and your sock grips your shoe.
They all grip together so your foot doesn’t slide around in there.
But with every step you take, your bones move under your skin.
And everything between skin and bone is pulled and stretched.
This pulling and stretching is what causes friction blisters.
We call it shear.
And it needs high friction to get anywhere near blister-causing.

You can stop friction blisters in the first place by cutting friction levels – this is smart!
But if you miss the blister prevention boat …
You'll want to know how to heal that blister fast
And make it hurt less.

The answer is not a blister plaster.
The answer is to cut friction levels (ie: add something slippery).
Make it less grippy (more slippery) where your friction blister is.
Because if you don’t …
That pulling & stretching continues at the blister base while it’s trying to heal
Making it hurt more
And taking longer to heal.

Most people don’t know to do this
Because they’re caught up with thinking friction is rubbing
But by making it less grippy (more slippery), just where the blister is
I can get runners back up and on their feet again
With even the worst blisters!

So how can you cut friction levels?
Pick one of these:

  • Lubricants
  • Powders
  • Antiperspirants
  • Tapes (maybe)
  • Moisture-wicking socks
  • Double socks
  • ENGO Blister Patches

 

All of these cut friction levels.
Some work better than others.
In other words, some don’t get friction down low enough … for long enough.
And so when friction inevitably rises, everything grips together again.
And you’re back to square one.
But one or two work brilliantly, keeping friction very low for very long.
[My favourites are Engo Patches, 2Toms BlisterShield powder and Armaskin double-socks].

So if you’ve got a friction blister, make no mistake
You still need to put a plaster over it.
To protect the fragile blister roof and painful blister base.
But to truly be effective at treating it
You will need to cut friction levels.
So your blister can heal quickly and hurt less.

Figure out which of these friction-cutting strategies is right for you
Right for your feet, your shoes, your activity and your lifestyle.
And have it handy for when you next get a blister.
You’ll thank me!





Rebecca Rushton
Rebecca Rushton

Author

Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leaderauthor and educator. Can’t cook. Loves test cricket.


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