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How to choose a blister prevention strategy - that works

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How To Choose a Blister Prevention Strategy - that works!

Find out how to choose a blister prevention strategy that will work for you, your sport, your level of activity, your climate and your feet.

The reference for this presentation is The Advanced Guide To Blister Prevention - for athletes and sports medicine professionals.

WHY? “... many myths continue to be propagated regarding the prevention and treatment of friction blisters. Physicians, coaches and athletic trainers continue to advocate the use of petrolatum jelly and skin powders to prevent blisters while the scientific literature suggests these measures may actually increase the chance of blistering on the feet.” (Douglas Richie DPM, 2010)

Q: WHAT CAUSES BLISTERS? A: Rubbing under the skin (not rubbing on the skin). High friction level at skin surface + moving bone = everything in between stretches “SHEAR”

Q: WHAT CAUSES BLISTERS? A: Rubbing under the skin (not rubbing on the skin). Shear is the sliding of tissue layers (including skin layers) across one another. These layers have fine strong connections. These connections will break when shear is excessive and repetitive. This is the initial blister injury. Then fluid fills the area to form a blister.

BLISTER PREVENTION STRATEGIES: Let’s look at the pros & cons of each strategy - based on the following criteria: effectiveness and ease of use maintenance of normal function research evidence a lack of harmful effects.

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How to choose a blister prevention strategy - that works

  1. 1. How To Choose a Blister Prevention Strategy that works!
  2. 2. “... many myths continue to be propagated regarding the prevention and treatment of friction blisters. Physicians, coaches and athletic trainers continue to advocate the use of petrolatum jelly and skin powders to prevent blisters while the scientific literature suggests these measures may actually increase the chance of blistering on the feet.” (Douglas Richie DPM, 2010) WHY?
  3. 3. High friction level at skin surface + moving bone = everything in between stretches “SHEAR” Q: WHAT CAUSES BLISTERS? A: Rubbing under the skin (not rubbing on the skin)
  4. 4. Shear is the sliding of tissue layers (including skin layers) across one another. These layers have fine strong connections. These connections will break when shear is excessive and repetitive. This is the initial blister injury. Then fluid fills the area to form a blister. Q: WHAT CAUSES BLISTERS? A: Rubbing under the skin (not rubbing on the skin)
  5. 5. Based on the following criteria: effectiveness and ease of use maintenance of normal function research evidence a lack of harmful effects BLISTER PREVENTION STRATEGIES Let’s look at the pros & cons of each strategy
  6. 6. FOOTWEAR
  7. 7. SHOE-FIT & LACING Your first and foremost blister prevention strategy. May not ensure full blister protection but must not be ignored. PROs CONs MOISTURE-WICKING SOCKS You need socks anyway so why not choose socks with advanced moisture management properties! Absorptive capacity of sock can be exceeded and long-term effect relies on evaporation through the shoe upper. PROs CON s CONs
  8. 8. DOUBLE-SOCKS Provides an additional interface. Thin inner sock will not adversely affect shoe fit. Absorptive capacity of socks can be exceeded. Optimal combination will take trial and error. PROs CON s CUSHIONING & INSOLES Proprietary insoles can easily be replaced. Cushioning devices for toes are readily available. More cushioning is not always better for functional efficiency. Keeping toe cushioning in place can be tricky. PROs CON s CONs CONs
  9. 9. ORTHOTICS Can be relevant to some blister locations. Often neglected but offers large preventive potential. Not relevant to all blisters. Requires professional assistance. PROs CON s ENGO PATCHES Extremely low friction. Long-lasting (500kms). Unaffected by moisture. Targeted friction management. Patch adhesion compromised with water-logging. Can’t be used for blisters between toes. PROs CON s CONs CONs
  10. 10. SKIN
  11. 11. ADAPTION A basic blister prevention requirement. Requires preparation – training in gear and on terrain before event. PROs CON s ANTI-PERSPIRANTS Easy to apply. Usually ineffective or only short term effect. Stronger preparations can cause skin irritation. PROs CON s CONs CONs
  12. 12. POWDERS Readily available. Short term effect. Delayed increase in friction. Messy. PROs CON s ASTRINGENTS Popular. No research exists. Theoretically only has a short term drying effect. PROs CON s CONs CONs
  13. 13. LUBRICANTS Very popular. Large initial friction reduction. Initial lack of traction. Later increase in friction. Weakens the skin. Messy. PROs CON s TAPING & DRESSINGS Very popular. Good abrasion prevention strategy. Sweat is a constant threat to adhesion. Difficult to perfect technique. Time consuming. PROs CON s CONs CONs
  14. 14. ACTIVITY
  15. 15. TECHNIQUE Can help if running form or biomechanical function is at fault. Changing technique may have adverse effect elsewhere. PROs CON s TRAINING REGIME Theoretically easy to institute. Rarely practical or acceptable. PROs CON s CONs CONs
  16. 16. www.blisterprevention.com.au GOT QUESTIONS? Go to … THE ADVANCED GUIDE TO BLISTER PREVENTION

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