Compeed: Blister Care 101
by USA Triathlon
Extreme athletes are physically fit, well-conditioned -- and notoriously susceptible to developing debilitating, race-ending blisters.
In a cruel twist of fate, the very actions that make triathletes the phenoms they are also create the ideal environment for painful blisters. But understanding how blisters develop can help you prevent them. And knowing about advancements in blister care can help you treat them before they affect your performance.
The most common type of blister for triathletes is the friction blister, which -- you guessed it -- is caused by the friction of socks or shoes repeatedly rubbing against skin, typically the heel, toes or the bottom of your feet. Considering how many thousands of times a triathlete’s feet pound the pavement or pump a bicycle pedal, it’s no surprise these particular competitors are often tapped by the blister fairy.
Blisters develop most frequently in the spring and summer because on hot, humid days feet tend to swell up from water retention, causing shoes to squeeze feet in certain areas. Feet also get sweatier in this kind of weather. When your feet are both swollen and sweaty, they’re ripe for harmful friction.
Over time, friction causes the upper layer of skin to shear away from the lower layers, creating a gap where fluid collects and forms a bubble. This fluid is actually protective, as it creates an extra layer to reduce continued friction on the damaged skin. That’s one reason it’s not recommended to pop a blister. Blisters can develop very quickly -- one minute your heel might feel a little warm, the next it feels like someone has taken a hacksaw to it.
Blisters typically take several days to heal, and if they become infected, the pain increases exponentially.
But it’s not all bad news.
Blisters can heal on their own. In time, usually quite a bit of it, new skin will form underneath the affected area, and the fluid is simply reabsorbed. However, triathletes don’t often have the luxury of time. They’ve got miles to go, faster than the next person. And blisters can be very painful during the healing process.
But wait! Don’t reach for one of those bandages you grew up with. Ordinary bandages let air get to the wound. Contrary to what you might have heard as a young’un, this actually slows down the healing process because cells needed for wound healing grow more slowly in a dry environment. Plus, once a scab falls off, a scar can appear.
Using a COMPEED® blister cushion instead helps create the optimal -- and much faster -- healing environment. The cushion’s hydrocolloid gel absorbs excess fluid, helping to accelerate the body’s natural wound healing process. Compeed also meets the primary goals of healing: preventing expansion of the lesion, reducing discomfort, and preventing infection.
This advanced solution provides 10 times more pain relief and three times more cushioning than ordinary bandages. A blister covered with a Compeed cushion will heal 20% faster, and the cushion itself will stay put 50% longer than an ordinary bandage. Compeed is waterproof, sweat-resistant, hypoallergenic and breathable.
Stock up now so you are prepared the next time you feel a blister coming on. With a Compeed Advanced Blister Care cushion on the job, you can confidently get back to running, biking or swimming. Compeed cushions are available on Amazon, and USA Triathlon annual members can get an exclusive discount on usatriathlon.org for purchase of any Compeed product on Amazon.
The Best Offense...
To prevent blisters in the first place, keep your feet in good condition. Overly dry skin is more likely to cause irritations than healthy skin, so apply a foot cream every night before bed. Wear shoes that fit well and are designed for your type of exercise. Skip the cotton socks -- which actually trap moisture against your skin, creating an excellent environment for friction and therefore, blisters -- and go for the moisture-wicking synthetic variety. They might cost more, but you and your feet are worth it. Also, consider changing socks mid-race to reduce the moisture trapped around your skin.
Some athletes swear by foot powder, which certainly does absorb moisture, but it also can clump and create friction issues. So you’ll need to try different amounts to find your sweet spot.
And remember Compeed Advanced Blister Care cushions applied at the first sign of a blister will provide a barrier against further rubbing, relieve pain and prevent the blister from fully developing. With Compeed on your team, your feet are in excellent hands.
*sourced from compeedusa.com;
1 Friction blisters Pathophysiology, prevention and treatment. Knapik JJ1, Reynolds KL, Duplantis KL, Jones BH. Sports Med. 1995 Sep;20(3):136-47.