How to prevent and cure
It is very likely that we have all suffered the appearance of blisters or chafing on our feet while playing a game of pade.
This episode, apart from limiting us during the same match or in subsequent matches, can limit our day-to-day actions and can be categorised as an injury.
What are blisters?
A blister is an accumulation of fluid that results from repeated rubbing, either with footwear, socks or our own skin. It is a defence mechanism by which the skin tries to protect the deeper tissues.
Why do blisters appear on the feet when playing paddle tennis?
During the practice of padel tennis they can appear due to several factors. The most frequent are:
- Continuous rubbing or friction with the footwear: this is the main cause if it is new or does not fit correctly. Also the wrinkles in the sock or the friction between our own toes favour this appearance.
- Internal heat in the shoe: due to the high demand of movements, accelerations and braking that padel presents, a large amount of heat accumulates inside the shoe. It is especially important to use a shoe with good breathability, especially in the summer months to favour the correct ventilation of the foot.
- Dermatitis or allergic reactions: the appearance of blisters on the skin can be promoted by allergic reactions or some types of dermatitis, such as dyshidrosis, which causes small blisters on the feet or hands.
- Foot fungus or athlete’s foot: this type of condition can cause blisters to appear on the feet.
SYMPTOMS – What are the symptoms of a blister on the feet during a match?
They will appear in those areas that receive the most friction or rubbing. We can detect and prevent their appearance in time if we pay attention to the following symptoms:
- Intense heat in the area: they are usually preceded by an increase in heat in the area. Choosing footwear that adequately releases internal heat will help prevent blisters on the feet..
- Reddening of the skin: if you notice this sign, it is very likely that you will soon find yourself with a blister on your foot, as the first layer of skin has begun to be damaged.
- Skin lifting: at the first moment the blister forms on the foot, we will observe a softening and lifting of the skin.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I GET A BLISTER IN A PADEL MATCH?
If we have not been able to prevent the appearance of a blister on the foot during a padel match, we should follow the following steps to try to continue with the match.
Apply betadine and cover with a non-stick gauze pad held in place with paper tape as it breathes better. It is important to apply the plaster with tension to avoid folds or slipping of the gauze over the blister, making the situation worse.
It is not advisable to apply dressings such as Compeed® during the match without first washing and healing the wound.
Remove sand from the sock or shoe if you are playing on a sandy court, as this favours friction and could have been the cause of the blister.
Stop: it is difficult to make this decision, but sometimes the best victory is a timely withdrawal. Apart from aggravating the blister, if it prevents us from stepping in the right way and we are forcing other supports, we can trigger a more serious injury such as an ankle sprain or muscle injuries that will keep us away from the courts for a longer period of time.
TREATMENT – HOW TO CURE BLISTERS AFTER THE MATCH?
After the match it is important to cure the blister correctly according to the following cases:
- The ampoule still contains the liquid and does not prevent us from walking.
- Wash the blister with soap and water: rub the blister and the surrounding area gently with soap and rinse with water.
- Dry the blister well: preferably using gauze, dry the blister area well and apply povidone iodine (betadine) or chlorhexidine.
- Cover the area: use a non-stick gauze to prevent it from sticking to the blister and cover it with a paper plaster..
- The blister still has fluid in it, is very large and prevents us from walking.
- Drain the fluid as it is the cause of the pain due to the large size of the blister, prick the blister with a sterile needle or the cleanest possible material.
- The skin should never be removed as it acts as a natural dressing. Then follow the same steps as in case A above.
- The blister has lost its skin.
- Clean the area well to disinfect it with soap and water plus chlorhexidine or povidone iodine (betadine).
- Place a dressing known as a “second skin” which should cover the entire injured area. If the dressing contains adhesive, do not place it on top of the wound, as peeling it off may further damage the blister.
PREVENTION – 5 Tips to prevent foot blisters or chafing in padel
Maintaining proper hydration of the skin of the feet with chiropody creams throughout the year is essential as it keeps our skin cells in good condition, reducing the appearance of chafing and blisters.
- Appropriate footwear
This is the most important and most influential element in the appearance of blisters on the feet. Some of the aspects to take into account are:
- Breathability: it is important to choose a shoe that breathes properly and releases the internal heat generated by the high intensity and friction movements that occur in padel.
- It is not recommended to use a shoe for the first time in a match. You should gradually adapt the shoe to your foot, preferably during training sessions, to adapt the last of the shoe to your foot.
- The shoe size should never be too large, as this will allow the foot to slip more easily inside the shoe and will increase friction during braking and changes of direction. The shoe should not be too tight either, as this will lead to internal heat build-up in the shoe, as well as other complications such as micro-traumatisation of the toes with the toe box.
- If you go shopping for new shoes, it is recommended that you buy them late in the day, when your feet are at their widest, to make sure you select the right size.
Socks are often underestimated in their role in the development of blisters or chafing on the feet. It is recommended to use technical socks without seams, as they promote breathability and do not cause creases or wrinkles, improving the conditions to avoid chafing and moisture. Make sure that there are no wrinkles in the socks before playing.
If we are predisposed to blisters or chafing on our feet during matches, or if we are going to wear new shoes for the first time, it is recommended to apply Vaseline or anti-chafing roll-ons in those areas where we suffer from chafing most frequently.
- Biomechanical study of the footprint
If we are predisposed to blisters or chafing on the same areas of the foot, it may be due to increased pressure or friction on that specific area of the foot..
“For this reason, it is important to carry out a footprint study, as the problem could be solved by modifying the load distribution with customised insoles”.
If you want to prevent injuries and improve your performance, Apex Biomechanics offers PadelMBA readers a 15% discount on their biomechanical study of the footprint and customised insoles! Just let them know that you go from the PadelMBA article and you’ll get your discount guaranteed.