7 Ways to Treat and Prevent Blisters During Sandal Season
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Summer's in full swing, so your sandals are probably a regular part of your footwear rotation—if you haven't succumbed to blisters, that is. To get your feet back into sandal-ready shape, we asked podiatrists for expert recommendations on treating blisters—and how to prevent them from ravaging your feet in the future.
Break in your shoes
Got a new pair of kicks? Think twice about wearing them for your 9-to-5 the first time you put them on your feet. “I would suggest wearing sandals around the house every day for a least a week before I head out in them for an entire day,” says Hilary Brenner, DPM, a New York City-based podiatrist.
Brenner recommends looking for problem areas while you're shopping. “When buying sandals, make sure the straps don't rub over bony prominences," Brenner says. "Also make sure the straps are a soft material, which causes less friction—hence less blisters.”
Treat them right
When blisters do strike, treatment is key. “I would suggest soaking your feet in Epsom salt and warm water for 20 minutes two to three times a week," Brenner says. "This will help with swelling, which in turn will decrease friction. Then apply bacitracin and a compressive dressing such as gauze pads and an ace bandage."
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
The cause of blisters is mostly due to friction, which can occur more often when feet are dry. Brenner recommends moisturizing the feet as much as possible with Shea butter. A couple options: L'Occitane Certified Organic Pure Shea Butter ($ 42; usa.loccitane.com) and Tree Hut Brazilian Nut Shea Body Butter ($ 8; drugstore.com).
Don’t try to pop it
Do not lance your own blister, says Grace Torres-Hodges, DPM, a Pensacola, Fla.-based podiatrist. "This creates an entry point for infection. The blister is a natural Band-Aid so I tell patients to leave it and allow it to resolve naturally."
Stock your medicine cabinet
When blisters strike, you won't want to have to walk to the drugstore with them rubbing against your shoes (ouch!). Stock your medicine cabinet with Band-Aid Advanced Healing Blister Cushions ($ 7; walgreens.com), says Brenner; Torres-Hodges prefers Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads ($ 9; amazon.com). These waterproof cushioned pads protect the blister and relieve pain. If your feet always tend to blister in the same spot, you could also wear these as a preventive measure.
Prevention is the best medicine
If you have a pair of shoes that gives you blisters no matter what you do, your best bet is to just stop wearing them. But if you can't bear to say goodbye just yet, protect your feet with moleskin, like Dr. Scholl's Moleskin Plus Padding Strips ($ 5; walgreens.com), suggests Brenner.