Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tennis blisters and painful bunions

The thought of a new season of professional tennis certainly gets the loins girding again to play. Too old, never say never. One of the most common problems people experience when the tennis season starts and that is troublesome blisters. To give them their Sunday best description blisters are a dilation of an existing space within the epidermis, (that's the outside layer of the skin), which fills, with exudation i.e. excess tissue fluid or blood. Superficial blisters or vesicles are the most common arise and measure < 0.5cm in diameter. These are caused by compression and when the skin temporarily rubs rudely against another rough surface.

A favourite old time treatment for blisters was a cabbage poultice. Placed carefully in the shoe beside the site of the blister the cabbage poultice acts as a physical barrier preventing further sheers between opposing surfaces. This is the first principle of treating a blister but I cannot see Novak Djokovic wearing a cabbage poultice, can you?

A common temptation for all is to burst the blister. Not a good idea and when it is unbroken, best the skin surface is left intact. A good idea is to cover the blister and its immediate surround with stretch strapping. This encourages tissue fluid to be reabsorbed as well as a second skin to protect the sensitive area. Pain associated with a sore blister may be relieved with surgical lancing which is best done by a health care professional.

Another common ailment exacerbated by friction from shoes is bunions. Many people think bunions describe a bony misalignment (or Hallux Abducto Valgus HAV).

A bursa or fluid filled sack sits deeper in the skin at the dermal /epidermal junction. The primary function is to protect vulnerable areas such as the big toe joint or back of the heel. When the area is aggravated by repeated sheer the bursa becomes inflamed i.e a bursitis.

An old cure for bunions was nightly rubs of patchouli and lavender oil, or chamomile or geranium ointment. This is very pleasant compared to earlier cures which involved cow dung.

If you suffer persistent pain in the feet, please consult your foot physician.

More Information
Rebecca Rushton The Advanced Guide to Blister Prevention

Reviewed 9/01/2016

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