Heel Edge Blisters - Don't Let Them Trick You

by Rebecca Rushton

Heel edge blisters occur around the heel’s rim. They’re caused by an irritation to the skin where your shoe's innersole or orthotic meets the side of the shoe.

As your blister fills with fluid, weightbearing pressure pushes the blister fluid upwards - to an area where there's less pressure. This can trick you into thinking the blister is caused by something higher up the side of the heel. But it's not. It''s caused at that innersole/shoe junction.

Note: There are 2 other types of heel blisters: back-of-heel blisters and blisters under the heel.

heel edge blisters
Heel edge blisters


Preventing heel edge blisters is all about two things:

  1. Reducing pressure from the heel cup of the insole or orthotic
  2. Reducing friction levels at that junction


    1. Eliminate excess pressure from the heel cup

    • Insole: Some insoles are more cupped around the heel than others. These contours are most likely to cause edge blisters. Aside from that, your insole’s contoured heel cup may be creased, buckled, folded or protrude in some way. You need to flatten it out or position it so doesn't cause an area of localise higher pressure to your foot. Replace it with a new one if you need to.

    • Orthotic: If your orthotic has slipped forward, you’ll be standing on the heel cup, with blisters (or at least callouses) a certainty. Apply some double sided tape under the orthotic and fix it so it’s sitting correctly at the back of your shoe. This may not work if your orthotic has made an impression into the shoe - you might not be able to fix it all the way back and make it stay there. But it's worth a shot. Another cause of blisters is a thick or misshapen heel cup. Your podiatrist will be able to adjust this by either heat moulding or grinding it (pictured below).

    Stop heel edge blisters by minimising pressure at the orthotic-shoe juntions
    A podiatrist can grind the inside of the heel cup to make it less of an irritation; and the outside of the heel cup to make it thinner.


    2. Making a low-friction junction

    With the heel cup of your insole or orthotic sorted out, if you’re still getting edge blisters, you’ll need to manage friction with ENGO Patches. This will create a low-friction junction between the shoe and the heel cup. Cover each surface with a separate large oval patch using the Two Patch Technique: one patch goes on the shoe, the other on the insole or orthotic (pictured below).

    Use the ENGO Patch 2-Patch technique to stop heel edge blistersA smooth junction is created by using the Two Patch Technique with two large oval ENGO Patches


    To get the Two Patch Technique right for the heel, you need to make sure of two things:

    • The top rim of the heel cup is covered with the patch (so make sure this is where the widest part of the patch is); and

    • There are no creases that will irritate the skin. Creases on the outside of the heel cup are fine and in fact are usually necessary on curved and contoured heel cups.

    Make sure the widest part of the patch goes over the heel cup. For edge blisters at the back of the heel, creases on the outside of the heel cup are fine.
    Make sure the widest part of the patch goes over the heel cup. For edge blisters at the back of the heel, creases on the outside of the heel cup are fine.



    Here’s the ENGO 4-Pack. It will cover you for two blisters using the Two Patch Technique explained above.

    ENGO Blister Patches 4-Pack


    Wrapping up

    Don't limit yourself to choosing one of these strategies over the other. The ENGO patches are a really simply strategy to implement in any scenario. But don't neglect focal pressure from a prominent heel cup!

    Rebecca Rushton
    Rebecca Rushton


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

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