What Causes Blisters?
In order to successfully prevent or treat your blisters, it is essential to understand what causes them. Your blisters might be from breaking in a new pair of heels or training for a marathon. Regardless of their cause, blisters are painful and disruptive.
If you’re an athlete, you may know that blisters are the most common sports injury. The pain can severely interrupt the performance of athletes from runners and hikers to hunters and hockey players.
But did you know blisters are preventable?
Blisters are Caused by Friction
So what causes blisters? Friction, which is a component of rubbing. In other words, when your foot moves in your shoe, it rubs against your shoe. If you’re not using a blister product like ENGO, that repetitive rubbing causes blisters.
As you’ll see in the image below, friction initially causes microscopic tears in your skin. Then inner layers of your skin begin to separate. Beneath your outer layer of skin, the tears combine and turn into a cleft – sort of like one big internal tear. The cleft then fills with fluid and becomes a blister.
Moisture can make blisters worse because it causes higher friction and weakens your skin.
The good news is you can prevent blisters by reducing repetitive friction against your skin. In fact, friction can be reduced to levels where blisters will not form.
What Causes Friction, Heat & Moisture Problems?
There are numerous causes of friction, including:
- 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, Haglund’s deformity aka “Bauer bump”, or other bony protrusions)
- Shoelaces that are too loose or too tight
How to Treat and Prevent Blisters
The most frequent protocol for treating blisters is after-care: treating a blister for days following activity to promote healing and protect against continued skin damage.
However, because friction is preventable, most blisters are also preventable. ENGO prevents blister-causing friction. Shop the ENGO store to find the patch that’s right for you, or read How to Prevent Blisters for more blister tips.