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Minimize Blisters this Sandal Season

Sandal weather means no more socks – and the possibility of blisters caused by friction between your feet and your shoes. Learn how to prevent blisters, and treat them when they occur.

While not usually a major health concern, blisters can be annoying and painful. Whether on your feet or hands, blisters caused by friction or chronic irritation can be prevented by keeping skin dry, wearing sock liners or work gloves, protecting areas where blisters tend to form with moleskin, gel-pad dressing or blister plaster, and addressing an irritated area as soon as symptoms arise.

However, once you have a blister, what's the best way to treat it? If your blister is small, leave it alone - the covering maintains a sterile interior and usually resolves on its own. If your blister is large, I recommend the traditional method of piercing a blister, which can be done in three simple steps:

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands.
  2. Sterilize a needle in a flame until it glows red. After the needle cools, use it to puncture the edge of the blister and then gently press out the fluid. Leave the loose skin in place - the blister will heal faster.
  3. Dab on some antibiotic ointment, diluted tea tree oil or clean your skin with a sterilizing wipe and cover the area with gauze or a gel dressing.

 

Be certain your tetanus shot status is up to date before piercing a blister; if you are not up to date, make an appointment with your doctor.

Are Your Heels Dry and Cracked?

It’s not uncommon to slip on a pair of sandals after a long winter only to discover dry and cracked heels. Find out what causes this, ways to promote healing, and the type of shoes to avoid if you want to prevent cracked heels in the future!

Dry and cold weather, prolonged standing and walking, and some types of footwear such as flip flops and other open-heeled shoes can all create cracks (also known as "fissures") in the skin of your heels. These simple, protective steps can help prevent further damage and promote healing:

  1. Exfoliate. Use a wet pumice stone in the shower and gently rub your heels and calluses. This will help reduce the thickness of the calluses and allow lotions to better penetrate these areas.
  2. Moisturize. Moisturizers can help resolve most small fissures, but if you have serious cracks, look for a product designed for feet and heels that has glycolic and/or salicylic acids, which may provide deeper penetration of the skin. Slather it on before bed, and then cover your feet with a pair of cotton socks.
  3. Choose appropriate footwear. Open-backed shoes such as flip-flops allow the skin in the heel area to expand and crack. Opt for closed-back shoes at least until your feet heel.