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Blisters on the feet are the scourge of athletes, and blisters on the hands can be a problem for crosscountry skiers, baseball players, basketball players, cricketers, rowers, tennis, badminton and squash players, and team handball players. Once a blister is broken it becomes a potentially painful open wound.
Athletes using wheelchairs are a special group who often have trouble with pressure sores and blisters.These can be difficult to treat because of impaired skin sensitivity and poor circulation.


Blisters should be treated in the following way:
– When there is any tendency to a blister forming, a break from exercise should be taken in order to prevent further irritation. The problem area can then be protected with adhesive bandaging; avoid creases in the plaster which would encourage rather than prevent blister formation.
– Once a blister has formed, its surface should be retained intact as it acts as a barrier against bacteria. Never break a blister deliberately. Large blisters can be punctured at their edges with a sterile needle. The blister can be protected from pressure by means of a piece of plastic foam with its centre cut out.
– If a blister breaks naturally, it is important to clean it carefully with soap and water or antiseptic solution. A sterile nonadherent dressing or a bandage is used to cover the wound.

Preventive measures

Blisters can be prevented by the following measures:
– All equipment should be designed for use in training as well as in competition. Footwear, in particular, should be well worn in.
– Socks should be free from holes, dry, clean, and of the correct size so that they do not crease. They should be changed frequently.

– Hygiene should be meticulous. The feet should be washed daily and can be rubbed with salicylic acid grease which softens calluses and keeps the skin supple.

– Sensitive skin areas can be protected with adhesive bandaging applied firmly and directly to the skin before exercise.

It cannot be stressed too strongly that blisters can be avoided if preventive measures are applied. They may seem trivial but they can necessitate long breaks from training, especially if they become infected.

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