Socks, Blisters and Skates, Oh My!


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Avoid Blisters by selecting the right socks, they should fit your foot, and not be too skin tight or too baggy.  Also choose a soft wicking material without cotton in them or choose a fiber blend.  Find socks that don't have a seam.  Some socks stitch in extra padding on the toe and heel areas, this can actually be worse, if the seam protrudes, it can rub against your foot causing blisters.  Double layer socks sometimes help to prevent blisters.  You can buy double layer socks, or layer two pairs depending on your preference

Throw out your old worn socks, areas that are worn thin can also be the cause of blistering.

If you are skating a long distance, take an extra pair along and change them if you feel moisture forming in your boot.

You can also use a foot powder, from the store or cornstarch in your socks to help absorb moisture and keep your feet dry.   There is also many foot care products at the store that you can use to help prevent blistering on your feet. You can cover an area that is sensitive or already blistered using  Band Aid's Blister Blocks, Second Skin or Mole Skins over the area, before putting your socks on.

Ok, it's too late I already have a blister, now what?
When treating blisters on your feet, take precautions to avoid infection (If you are diabetic, consult your physician for medical care.)

1.  Use a disinfectant, or antibacterial soap to wash your hands with before you begin.
2.  Always use latex gloves. (These can be found pretty inexpensive at the Dollar Store)
3.  Use a disinfectant, or antibacterial soap and wash you foot taking extra care to clean the blister and area around the blister.
4.  If it is a small blister you don't need to puncture it.  Go to step 5.
5.  Large blisters, start by sterilizing a needle or pin by treating it with a disinfectant or heat the pin head until it glows. 
     Be sure to allow time for it too cool down before you touch it.
6.  Press the needle or pin in at the bottom of the blister, don't break the blister at the top.
7.  Gently push on the blister to drain the fluid out onto a cotton swab or tissue.
8.  Use gauze or a Band-Aid with antibiotic ointment on it to cover the blister.
9.  If you want to get back out and skate, use one of the blister blocking products to protect your foot from continued chafing.
10. Finally check your blister daily, watch for infection, swelling or pain.

Sweaty Socks: Research Finds Some Socks Better than Others
Findings could help athletes and diabetics

Contact: Jennifer Faddis
Sr. Information Specialist

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A painful blister is often the by-product of a sweaty sock. But, that is not the only reason a team of University of Missouri-Columbia biological engineering students decided to put athletic socks to the test to find out what constitutes a good sock versus a bad one. Knowing which socks are best could be meaningful information for diabetics with serious circulation problems and people who wear prosthetic devices.

The team started by developing a device to test 10 popular brands of athletic socks. The testing device uses a stepper motor to tilt a Plexiglas form that holds the sock material against a platform at a set pressure. The device calculates the point at which the material slips against the platform, which reveals its coefficient of friction (COF). Blisters are more likely to develop the higher the COF where the sock and shoe meet. Moisture makes the problem worse; that's why tests were conducted in a humidity chamber.

"We found that 100 percent cotton socks were usually the worst especially when a person started to sweat," said Robert Mooney, MU biological engineering student.

The team also found that money doesn't matter. The higher priced socks did not test any better than the inexpensive brands. The material that composed the sock is the key. All cotton performed poorly while nylon faired much better.

The benefits of the research are not aimed solely at athletes. The students said the research can help diabetics and those who wear prosthetic devises. The team is hopeful their device could help develop standards for use in sock manufacturing.

"This is about helping diabetics who have circulation problems and figuring out where they need specific materials in their socks," said Lisa Huhman, biological engineering student at Mizzou. "We find out where diabetics have skin trauma and target those areas. This isn┐t just about helping athletes prevent blisters."

"If I were a jogger or a runner looking for a pair of socks, I would look for a pair that had different compositions of materials in different parts of the sock," Huhman said. "I would not want a sock that was overall cotton. I might look for a sock that had some of those synthetic materials that were proven to be better."


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