Why do you get blisters on the back of the heel?

Well these the most common blister of the heel blisters and can be really painful, they take longer than other areas of the foot to heal, so they can hang around for weeks.

The shape of your heel bone

Haglunds deformity, where extra bone can grows at the back of the heel, due to its increase in size it then creates more pressure from the back of the shoe, creating a blister site. Wearing softer back or open back shoes, stretching the calf muscles or orthotic prescription to control the excessive movement and irritation at the Achilles calcaneus insertion. Surgery can be an option to remove any excess bone, if conservative treatments fail.

An early heel lift during activity can create extra movement irritating the back of the heel against the back of the shoe. This problem may be caused by a Biomechanical issue from a tight calf muscle or hamstrings which may cause the heel to lift earlier, with more height than it should. Simple stretches to the calves and hamstring can be enough to improve that problem, otherwise heel raises may be simple solution. Physiotherapists and Podiatrists are both really helpful professional’s to confirm and treat this functional issue. 

Footwear

can also create blisters at the back of the heel, some shoes and boots by their design shape can really cut into the back of the heel. Material choice will make a difference, harder unforgiving materials are going to increase pressure on the heel area rather than a softer fabric. A court shoe to a trainer is a prime example of that difference.

Always go footwear shopping at the end of the day when your feet are warmer and slightly larger than the morning, if they don’t feel comfortable then don’t be tempted to buy them. Take the socks that you always use for your chosen activity so you can replicate as best you can, everyone makes mistakes with footwear shopping even podiatrists!

Options that will help prevent the blisters in the first place

Heel lifts prescribed by a podiatrist

maybe just enough to take the heel out of the friction/ pressure area of the shoe

Lace locking

for shoes and boots, essential for keeping the heel retained in the back of the shoe, reducing excessive movement of the heel in and out of the shoe such a simple technique that can make such a difference to the prevention of heel blisters.

Engo patches

are friction reducing patches that are placed inside the shoe at the back of the heel. This creates a smoother surface next to the heel reducing friction

Armaskin liner socks

Stick to the skin and prevents any friction that is occurring between the socks and the skin, you would than wear your normal wicking sock over it.

Moisture Wicking socks like darntough

Wick the moisture away from the skin and also cushion the area.

2Toms blister shield powder

Is also a great way of reducing friction levels at the back of the heel.

Blister prevention tape either Hypafix or KT pro

are both great at preventing blisters. Apply 2Toms blistershield powder over the tape especially the edges to prevent rolling of the tape. For a hot and humid climate prepare the skin before taping with Skin Tac to give the tape extra staying power

Gel Achilles sleeve

Is an elastic fabric sleeve that has a gel area adhered to it protecting the back of the heel, they can be gently washed and reused. Wear underneath your usual sock. They reduce the friction and pressure from the footwear.

Epitact gel ovals

these are applied to the back of the heel and reused up to 5 times, they are slightly tacky but will need securing with hypafix tape. The gel ovals reduce any friction or pressure for the footwear