Blisters On Toes
How To Avoid Blisters On Your Toes
Getting blisters on your toes is certainly not life-threatening, and unless one becomes infected, not all that serious. However, they can be, and usually are, uncomfortable, even to the point of becoming debilitating. A toe blister can ruin the performance of a professional athlete in the middle of an event, not by making it impossible to walk or run, but simply by being enough of an irritant to cause the athlete to lose his or her competitive edge. For everyone else, blisters on your toes can ruin a nice day's walk in the park.
Blisters on your toes don't just happen, though it may seem that way sometimes. They are caused by something, and as such are usually preventable. Knowing what a blister is and what causes one to form will give one a pretty fair insight on how to avoid one from developing and causing a problem. There are two primary types of blisters, those due to a burn and those caused by friction on the skin. Unless you somehow manage to get your toes sunburned, chances are a blister on one or more of your toes is going to be the result of friction.
Shoes, The Main Culprit - Let's start with shoes, the most common culprit. Many years ago it seemed that whenever one bought a new pair of shoes, there was an obligatory breaking in period. Maybe it was the styles or materials used back then, or due to a sadistic shoe salesman who would be sure to give you a pair of shoes a half-size too big or a half-size too small. The shoes would of course feel good while taking a few trial steps in the store, but after getting home you would find that you could only wear them 5 minutes the first day, and maybe 10 the second. In a week's time you could wear them all day. With the exception of some soft leather to fabric styles, it's still a good idea to break a pair of shoes or boots in. New hiking boots or ski boots can be a particular problem if you don't walk around in them a bit before putting them to general use.
Ill-fitting shoes, or stiff shoes can of course cause friction on your toes, resulting in blisters on your toes. Wearing shoes that are too narrow can cause blisters on your big toes, on your little toes, or both. If the toe box is too shallow, friction can cause blisters on the tops of your toes. If the toe box is too large, blisters may form on either the tops or bottoms of your toes, though blisters forming on the bottom are less likely to occur. In buying shoes, make certain they fit in the first place, and depending upon the type of shoe and its intended use, break it in a little before wearing it all day. This, as we've said, is really important with hiking boots.
Socks Can Contribute To Blisters - Socks also play a role. Ill-fitting socks can bunch up and cause friction, although this is apt to affect other parts of the foot more so than the toes. The material the socks are made of can play a role however. Skin that is warm and moist is more susceptible to forming a blister when exposed to friction than skin that is either dry or completely soaked. Socks which wick moisture away from the skin are better for avoiding blisters on your toes than socks which do not. That's one reason why good hiking socks are either wool, synthetic material, or a combination, and not cotton, which retains moisture. Some hikers like to wear a light sock of silk or rayon under their wool hiking sock as a further guard against friction. If you do get started on a hike and feel friction on your toes or any other part of your foot, having moleskin available to place on the spot is a good preventative.
Should A Blister Break - If in spite of your best efforts, you develop blisters on your toes the best approach is to place something between the blister and the inside of your shoe. The aforementioned moleskin is one good remedy, a blister bandage, which is designed to prevent the blister from breaking is another. If you can leave the blister alone for 24 hours or so, the fluid will generally be reabsorbed and the skin will have healed. Blisters on the toes obviously don't become very large, being restricted by the size of the toe itself, so are less apt to break open. A broken blister anywhere on the foot is never good however, as the area involved is usually somewhat susceptible to infection. If a blister is broken, apply antibiotic ointment and a dressing at the first opportunity.
As far as blisters on your toes are concerned, an ounce of prevention can keep your walking, running, hiking, or skiing activities free of this very annoying nuisance.