So annoying, so “lethal” especially for those who play high-level sports. he knows something about it jannik sinner, the tennis champion who had to leave the Miami tournament and perhaps paid duty in the tie break against Zverev in the Monte Carlo tournament, again because of them, blisters on his feet. A problem that can also affect those who exercise occasionally. These are rounded formations “consequence of a detachment of the epidermis from the deep dermis, determined by the rubbing of the affected part of the foot with the shoe and excessive pressure that cause continuous microtraumatisms in the sole of the foot, in the heel or between the toes”, explains the teacher antonio serafin, Head of the Podiatry Service of the Irccs Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute of Milan (San Donato Group) and professor at Unimi. “Our body cannot have free empty spaces.”, continues the expert, “and then fills this ‘pocket’ that has formed -the detachment- with whitish intercellular liquid, not very dense, rich in proteins and sugars, forming the classic bubble”. Symptoms include pain, itching, very disabling because the dermis is uncovered, and very localized redness; while itching is quite rare “. The blisters acquire a swelling with a diameter of less than 5 mm, while in the case of larger dimensions we speak of bubbles.
Professor Serafin, what other factors influence the appearance of blisters?
“Excessive sweating and also genetic factors such as very light skin that predisposes to the formation of these friction bubbles. And again, wearing a sock made of synthetic and unbrushed fabric next to a warm environment such as footwear increases the heat of the affected part of the foot, which by reaction begins to sweat, lowering the temperature. The sweat ‘macerates’ the skin contributing to the formation of blisters”.
And the new shoes?
“They can affect not because they are tight, but because of the stiffness. Each of us has a specific foot shape that can differ by a few millimeters from the standard shoe size. For this reason, especially professional or more advanced athletes wear the shoe for about ten minutes, before actual use, to adapt the foot to the new shoe. On the other hand, a wider shoe can actually be more damagingsince the foot moves more inwards, increasing the friction”.
What are the main treatments?
“It was once said that you had to take a needle with cotton thread, pass it into the gallbladder, remove the lake and leave the thread inside to form a drain. But it is absolutely wrong, because the liquid from the blisters is rich in sugars, proteins and becomes a nutritious ground for bacteria, favoring their passage from the outside to the inside of the bladder. Instead, we must use a sterile disposable syringedisinfect the part to be treated with soap and water, pierce the gallbladder to let out all the fluid, but without cutting the skin. Next, a silicone patch is applied, specifically designed to cushion the affected area, which is changed every 6 hours. When not exercising it is important to remove the patch because the part needs to breathe, dry and dry. And in case there is any redness around the gallbladder, that’s fine. make compresses with cold water and disinfect the part. Never apply a local antibiotic.”
An athlete who struggles with this problem and who has to compete a few hours later, how can he stop the discomfort?
“The only thing is make applications with ice wrapped in a cotton cloth for 15-20 minutes, half an hour before the start of the race, and then apply the silicone patch that has a thickness of approximately 1mm-1.5mm that acts as a shock absorber and covers the entire interested part. They are readily available patches, even in the supermarket.”
Finally, what are the golden rules to prevent foot blisters?
“Apply good hygiene with non-aggressive products: soap and water are perfect, they keep some oil on the skin, the so-called ‘hydrolipid film’; then wear socks made of natural fabric, 100% cotton, brushed and thick, and always clean. And, as mentioned before, new shoes should never be worn for more than 10 minutes for the first time, so that the shoe adapts to our walk. These rules are valid for all athletes, but also for those who take a simple walk in the mountains with the family”.