Blisters occur most commonly in GAA during the summer months when the ground is hard leading to increased friction and with the added heat this combines to create the perfect conditions for blisters to occur. New footwear can also cause blisters to appear. So it is a year round issue for all players in all Gaelic sports.
Blisters on feet can be painful and bothersome. Blisters are small pockets of fluid that form on the upper layers of the skin. Fluid forms inside a blister and is called serum or plasma. This fluid is usually clear, but it can also be red if the blister is filled with blood or yellowish green if it is filled with pus, indicating an infection. Blisters may appear on one foot or both feet.
Blisters on feet can be caused by numerous things, including:
- Forceful rubbing or friction on the foot
- Allergic reaction
- Pinching skin
- Foot perspiration
- Fungal infections such as Athletes foot
In most cases, the blister is due to improper footwear; boots that are too big tend to cause friction between the foot and the boot. Brand-new football boots can also cause blisters. Moulded studs are recommended during the summer months to cut down on friction.
Symptoms of Blisters on Feet
If a blister is forming, you’ll probably know it, but here are some symptoms that may indicate that a blister is forming on your foot:
- Redness of skin
- Localised pain when moving
The best way to treat your blister will depend on the type of blister it is. Blood blisters should never be drained, nor should pus-filled blisters. Most experts say to leave the blister alone and let it pop on its own. Some blisters will heal themselves without invasion. Most blisters heal naturally and do not require medical attention.
As new skin grows underneath the blister, your body will slowly reabsorb the fluid in the blister and the skin on top will dry and peel off.
If the blister is located on a weight-bearing part of your foot, however, you may want to consider the following steps:
1. Wash your hands and the blister with soap and water
2. Swab the blister with iodine or rubbing alcohol
3. Sterilize a pin or needle (this can be done with a flame or rubbing alcohol)
4. Make a small hole at the edge of the blister
5. Drain the fluid, but leave as much of the skin there as possible
6. Clean the blister with a sterilizing wipe
7. Apply an antibiotic ointment
8. Bandage the blister
9. Wrap tape over the top to provide extra support
You don’t want to turn your blister into an open wound. This will make it more susceptible to infections. Infections in your feet can lead to further complications. To avoid this, it’s very important that you properly drain the fluid. If you feel you cannot do this on your own, you should see a doctor. If there is an infection, your doctor may prescribe you antibiotics. Never attempt the steps above if you see symptoms of infection, such as pus, redness, increasing pain, or warm skin. If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention.
First aid should not be necessary unless the blister breaks or the raw skin has been damaged by friction. If this is the case, treat the blister in this manner:
1. Wash the blister and surrounding area gently with soap and water. Do not poke at the blister.
2. Cover the area with a sterile gauze pad and tape the pad in place.
Preventing Blisters in GAA Players
In most cases, the blister is caused by friction due to improper footwear. Preventing blisters on your feet can be as simple as making sure you buy boots that fit you properly and allow your feet to breathe while you are wearing them.
Here are some additional prevention tips:
- Keep your feet dry; use foot powder to help with this if needed.
- Avoid wearing wet shoes.
- Change your socks on a regular basis.
- Take care of your footwear.
- Try to wear protective footwear in extreme temperatures.
- Avoid walking barefoot for long periods.
- Apply sunscreen to your feet if they will be exposed to the sun.
- Be sure to control any additional medical conditions you may have.
- Use tape to prevent blisters, especially if you feel friction.