How to Prevent and Treat Foot Blisters

With the winter quickly coming to an end (this year we didn’t have much of a winter to begin with!), you’re probably eager to put away your winter boots so you can dust off your rubber boots (for all the sloppy rain we’re getting) and spring shoes. You might even be tempted to do a little shoe shopping so you’re on-trend for the new season.


Changing footwear or buying new shoes means that your feet will need to get accustomed to the new and different shoes you choose to put on your feet. If you don’t give your shoes a chance to mould to the current shape of your feet, you might be in for a painful awakening: blisters.


Everyone, we’re certain, has experienced blisters on the back of their heels, side of their big or little toes, or bottom of their feet at some point in their lives. Blisters can develop quickly and last for a few days to a week depending on their severity, but they can also be easily prevented.


Blisters are small bubbles of fluid (serum or plasma) that develop in the top layers of the skin. They’re usually caused by friction, burning or freezing. The fluid build-up is there to protect deeper levels of the skin, but with excessive friction, blisters can burst and the raw skin underneath can become infected.


So how can you ensure you stay blister-free this spring? Toronto podiatrist Chris Hastings shares these top 5 tips for preventing foot blisters:


  1. Wear shoes that fit well. Anything too tight or too loose will cause excessive friction, which will lead to a blister. Shoes that squeeze your feet or taper at the toes, such as many high heels and dress shoes, will be more likely to cause a blister. Try to choose something with a rounded or square toe to avoid pinching and squeezing.
  2. Proper socks are important too. Cotton absorbs moisture best and will reduce friction. If you’re hiking or walking or running long distances, you might want to consider wearing two pairs of socks — a very thin wicking sock first, with a thicker cotton sock over top. Wear shoes that provide decent ventilation, made from canvas, leather, mesh or other breathable materials.
  3. It might be tempting to wear your new shoes for long periods of time (for example, to work, a night out, or walking or running long distances), but at our Toronto foot clinic, we recommend that you break in new shoes. Wear them for 1-2 hours at a time so that the shoes can gradually mould to the shape of your feet. After a few wears they will be good to go for longer periods.
  4. Insoles and custom orthotics will certainly help prevent blisters if you have a job that puts you on your feet all day. At our downtown Toronto podiatry clinic, Chris Hastings, DMP, can assess your feet and create custom orthotics specific to your feet.
  5. If you know you are prone to foot blisters, apply a lubricant such as Vaseline to your known problem areas. This will lessen friction. You can also tape the sensitive areas of your feet using Moleskin or Band-Aids to protect your feet from any chafing.


If you are unsure of the fit of your shoes, or have recurring blisters, contact Chris Hastings at his Toronto podiatry clinic today.


Athlete’s Foot isn’t just for athletes: symptoms and prevention

Tinea Pedis — aka athlete’s foot — is a very common fungal infection that can affect anyone. Although it’s named after more active folks — athletes — as they are often more likely to contract the fungus, anyone who frequents public places, such as locker rooms, gyms, swimming pools and shared showers, can find themselves with the fungus.


Athlete’s foot can also be caused by sweaty feet, wearing wet shoes or socks for long periods of time, wearing tight, closed toe shoes, or sharing towels or socks with an infected person.


If you have itching, stinging or burning anywhere on your feet, particularly in between your toes or on the bottoms of your feet, you might have athlete’s foot. Other symptoms that might indicate you have the fungus include dry, cracked or peeling skin; discoloured toenails or toenails that pull away easily from the nail bed; or itchy blisters or rasa skin on the feet. At our Toronto podiatry clinic, we can help fix toenails that are particularly damaged by athlete’s foot.


If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your podiatrist for a confirmed diagnosis. Although athlete’s foot isn’t serious, you might need a prescription medication such as an anti fungal to get rid of the fungus entirely.


In the meantime, if you do suspect you have athlete’s foot, avoid sharing towels, socks and nail clippers and if you live with family members, reduce the spread of the fungus by using your own shower mat and cleaning the shower stall or bathtub after each use.


To prevent further cases of athlete’s foot, our downtown Toronto foot clinic recommends the following:


  • Wash and dry your feet thoroughly after bathing
  • Use an antifungal powder on your feet if you’re prone to athlete’s foot
  • Wear sandals or flip flops at public pools, locker rooms and public showers
  • Wear breathable socks, made from cotton or wicking material, and change your socks if you have sweaty feet
  • Alternate between two pairs of shoes so that you’re not wearing the same shoes everyday, giving your footwear a chance to breathe and dry out
  • Never share towels, socks, toenail clippers or pedicure tools


If you’d like more information about what you can do to treat or prevent athlete’s foot, contact our podiatry clinic  today.