Blisters 101: Prevention and Care

Reviewed by Elaine Winslow-Redmond, MS, ATC, EMT, Rockettes' Director of Athletic Training and Wellness

Whether you focus most on ballet, tap, jazz or modern, you can’t go full out if you’re in pain—and nothing puts a damper on your dance performance like getting a blister right before the curtain goes up.

Although blisters are a reality of dance life, there are many ways to help prevent them from occurring. From taping your feet and toes to covering blisters with appropriate dressing, our Wellness & Athletic Trainer, Elaine Winslow-Redmond, shares her blister prevention and care guide to help keep your feet in tip-top shape:

Prevention
Blisters are caused by a combination of moisture, pressure and friction. In order to prevent a blister from forming, tape your feet and toes, as if you’re wearing pointe shoes, around the prominent spots where blisters usually occur (big toe, little toe, heel). Neutral-colored masking tape, which can be found at most hardware or general stores, is recommended by experts because it is slick and allows your dance shoes to give over your feet without creating friction.

Care for Blisters
If a blister does form, here are a few steps to follow in order to safely aid in the healing process of your skin:

  • Leave the blister alone! Do not pop, drain, open or trim your blister—this is the most common cause of infection. Allow it to pop on its own and try to keep the skin intact, if possible.
  • Cover the blister with appropriate dressing. Start by applying a layer of 2nd Skin—not the new skin!—and cover with a Band-Aid large enough to cover the entire area of the 2nd Skin. Then, cover the Band-Aid with flexi-tape (this will allow the bandage to staying in place while rehearsing or performing).
  • After rehearsing or performing, allow your blister to dry out—soaking your feet in a warm Epsom salt bath with help dry it out. If possible, keep the blister uncovered overnight.

Healing
Healing is most rapid when the blister is left intact. Leaving the skin intact helps prevent infection from occurring caused by sweat or bacteria within your dance shoes. If the blister is left intact, the initial healing process should take place within two to three days, and it should be completely healed within two weeks.


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