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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Blisters & Boots

Nothing can ruin the joy of a new pair of boots like a blister. Whether your new kicks are work boots, hiking boots, or fashion boots — blisters are a bummer. Blisters are the skin’s reaction to friction in warm, damp places — and boots provide the ideal environment for breeding blisters. Feet are enclosed with little ventilation, and they often move around in the boots when walking. If you can eliminate the movement, you eliminate the blisters. Sometimes, we don’t realize until it’s too late that feet are rubbing the wrong way… or maybe those boots were just too darn irresistible and you convinced yourself that they were comfortable. Hey, it’s happened to everyone at one time or another.



With boot season quickly approaching, preventing blisters is a necessity! Here is what you need to know to be blister-free this fall and winter.

• Boots must fit! They can’t be too big or too small, and they must be secure in the heel area, but have enough room to wiggle the toes. If you are selecting a hiking or work boot, keep in mind that these should be worn with a thicker pair of socks. It’s often difficult to find properly fitting boots, and you want to stay away from cheap ones. Boots made of leather are preferred as nothing else can match the, style, durability, and protection that leather boots offer. So, be prepared to spend some time trying on many different kinds from different companies. Your feet really need to feel out the boot to know if it will work!  

• Break ‘em in. You should be able to wear most shoes all day right out of the box, provided they fit correctly. Boots are not as flexible and cover more area, so they often need to be “broken in” before wearing them all day. I suggest wearing them a few hours in the morning, and then be prepared to switch to an alternate shoe or boot for the rest of the day. It’s a dreadful feeling to be walking around in awesome looking boots, feel a blister forming, know you are in for some pain, and being helpless to do anything about it.

• It’s all about the socks. Hiking socks should provide cushioning and reduce abuse to prevent excess friction on the foot skin. Never wear cotton socks as they do not allow moisture to evaporate. You want socks that transport excess moisture away from your skin as the moist environment supports blister creation. We recommend Aetrex Copper Sole socks. Did you know that simply taking the time to put on socks correctly and smoothing out any wrinkles in the heel or toe area can go a long way towards preventing blisters?  

• Check out the insoles. Sometimes, even the best boot will lack a proper insole. The original insoles may not be comfortable, supportive, or durable. In these cases, you need to replace them with an insole that will fit your feet and won’t cause problems. Medical-grade inserts, like Powersteps, can provide a solid improvement to standard insoles. Custom orthotics, shaped to each individual foot, can also be the answer to not only preventing blisters, but to solving many other kinds of foot problems.

• Protect. You know your feet and should know which areas are most prone to blistering. Some people happen to have more delicate feet and, despite proper fit and quality socks, will still get blisters. In this case, you can tape or use blister pads on the problematic spots before you put on the boots — especially if you are going hiking or will be wearing them for a long time. This will protect your feet from a blister forming. It’s much easier to prevent a blister than to treat one after it has occurred.
    
    If you do get a blister, the most important thing is to be sure it doesn’t get infected. If the blister is small, don’t try to drain it as the skin provides the protection you need. Just cover it when necessary and leave it uncovered when possible. If the blister is large, then you’ll want to drain it. This can safely be done at home, just be sure to sterilize the skin and needle, then very gently puncture the skin. Apply antibiotic ointment and keep it covered.
    Take a bit of extra care when choosing and wearing new boots, and your feet will feel as magnificent as you look.
    
    Dr. Lockwood and the staff at Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates, located at 10 Heartland Dr. in Bloomington, can help you with any foot problem. They will also help you find the perfect boot. Stop in for a free shoe consultation or call 309-661-9975 or
heartlandfootandankle.com.

 

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