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Unless you’re one of those early birds who gets things done well before they are due, you may be feeling the last-minute pressure of filling out tax forms before the April 15 deadline. We’re pretty sure that’s not the only pressure you have in your life, either.

One small one you may not realize is that switching to your spring shoe wardrobe can mean new spots of friction from shoes that don’t fit well. We say small, but actually a friction blister can become a big deal. It has derailed many a running program, and can lead to serious consequences in diabetic feet.

Blisters form because of pressure and movement of the skin itself. They can be aggravated by shoes that don’t fit right or aren’t laced properly, socks that hold moisture against skin, or poor technique or training practices. However, the underlying cause is something called skin shear—when different layers of your skin stretch and move over the bones in your feet.

When your sweaty feet stick to the sock, and the damp sock to the shoe, every movement forces the skin to stretch back and forth over the underlying structure. With repetitive movements, connections between the skin layers begin to break down at hot spots (areas of increases pressure or rubbing), and the layers separate. Your body senses this injury and rushes extra fluid to the area, which fills up the space between the skin and causes that familiar bubble of the blister.

Everyone is different in the amount of pressure and friction their skin can withstand, so some people will develop blisters more easily than others. Blisters can be hard to treat, so it is best to try to prevent them by wearing shoes that don’t pinch or rub and socks that wick moisture, protecting vulnerable areas with pads or taping, and most important, making sure your foot is supported to give you the best biomechanics during movement and reduce shear.

It is possible that custom orthotics can help stabilize the foot and reduce pressure that might lead to blisters. If you have a continual problem with these skin sores, contact Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Ladera Ranch, CA and we’ll look into other ways to prevent them. We can be reached by phone at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) or through our online contact form.