Blisters are no fun and they always seem to pop out on the worst days. Luckily there is a lot you can do to prevent them and treat them efficiently. I’m sharing all my hacks with you in this article.
Taping your feet
If done properly, it’s the easiest and most efficient way to prevent blisters.
Choose the right kind of tape, one that sticks well to the skin and that doesn’t create too much humidity. My favorite is self adherent sports tape for the toes and volleyball cotton tape for heels or other spots where I can’t make the tape wrap around and stick to itself.
Always dry your feet with a towel before applying tape and put talc inside your pointe shoes to minimize sweat and moisture.
Don’t tape too tightly as your feet will swell and avoid stacking more than two layers of tape. Remember that you don’t have to wrap around each and every toe: identify your trigger spots and limit yourself to those. Too much tape will result in increased pressure inside your shoe.
Pointe shoes and padding
Pointe shoes should fit your feet like gloves. Any shoe that doesn’t match your foot shape and figure will leave you with pain and blisters, so if you’re experiencing these problems frequently go and check your fit. Bear in mind that your feet change with time, so a perfect fit in September may very well not be perfect anymore.
During a pointe shoe fitting and when wearing pointe shoes in general avoid over padding. Extra padding is not a solution for excessive pain, its purpose is to fill in the “empty spaces”. Using cotton or lambswool is ideal, but thin cotton toe pads that cover all the toes can work well too (avoid the silicon ones that are usually too bulky or thick). Remember to use toe spacers if you have a gap between your big toe and second toe to prevent bunions.
I have a blister. What do I do now?
If you already have a blister, don’t panic. There are a couple of different things you can do to relieve the pain and help the layer of skin re-grow faster.
Right now, in the studio
If the blister hasn’t popped yet, don’t try to do it now. In this case, you want to take as much pressure away from the blister as possible, so that you can carry on dancing. Dry your feet with a towel and use some talk inside your shoes to take the moisture away. Put on a corn plaster (the ones that look like a donut) if the blister is small enough to fit into the whole. This will take some of the pressure away. Otherwise, cover the spot with some cotton or lambswool and tape it.
Going home: stop at the pharmacy
Stock up on second skin plasters and mercurochrome at the pharmacy on your way home. Once home, wash your feet and dry them accurately. If the blister is filled with a clear liquid, pop it with a sterilized needle (heat the tip with a lighter until it becomes red and let it cool). After that, apply a couple of mercurochrome drops and let the skin breathe overnight. The next morning, cover the blister with a second skin plaster.
If the blister is red and filled with blood, you should not pop it. Disinfect the skin and dry it very well, then apply a corn plaster to reduce the pressure on top of the blister. Blood blisters are more at risk of infection, so keep an eye on it and seek out medical help if you notice a sudden swelling, increased redness or pus.
No stop at the pharmacy possible?
Once home, wash and dry your feet. Again, if the blister is clear, pop it with a sterilized needle. Cover the popped blister with a little bit of honey as it will help the healing process.
If the blister is filled with blood, follow the steps outlined in the previous paragraph.
Blisters prevention must-haves
These are the items you need to always carry in your dance bag:
your favorite kind of tape
cotton / lambs wool
second skin plasters
And these are the must haves at home: