The foot has three arches but usually only two get affected by blisters. The inside of the foot has the largest arch which you will be more familiar with, this arch is designed to shock absorb the forces applied to the foot from the ground and provides a spring like push off for the foot into the next step. The arch on the outside of the foot, which depending on your foot shape, you might not have even noticed, receives the full weight of the body and stabilises the foot. Both arches are really important for walking and running, so considering how much work they do it’s not surprising blisters can present on both.

What causes these blisters?

Footwear

Some shoes and boots have a built-up arch supports already moulded in the insoles, these can be sometimes be a help and a hindrance at the same time, depending on your arch height?

Low foot arches that can look quite flat in appearance will receive more pressure from the pre-existing moulded arch support present. This will then cause the skin to blister whereas a high arched foot may not receive enough support from the pre-formed arch supports. This will cause excessive movement of the foot arch in the shoe, increasing the friction against the skin which will then blister.

Shoes that have worn away on the outside or the inside of the heel will put the foot at an angle, this will also cause blisters on both arches of the foot

Prescription Orthotics

that have been custom prescribed for you by a podiatrist. Although they are amazing at keeping patients active, they do need a 12-week adjustment period and it is in this period that they can cause blisters if the activity is too long in time. The orthotics may need modifying by increasing or decreasing the arch height, or a change in orthotic material. Speak to your podiatrist about your orthotic adjustments to help reduce the pressure on the arches

Off the shelf shop bought insoles/orthotics

because these products are not custom shaped to your foot in the way prescription orthotics are, the pressure on the arch areas of the foot could increase and cause the skin to blister

Plantar fibromas

these are knotted lumps located in the plantar fascia under the arch of the foot, the lumps can get quite large and contact the bottom of the shoe, this would be enough to cause a blister. They are not sinister in anyway, just a nuisance.

How to help prevent these blisters

Engo patches

are great at reducing friction on the arch of the foot, they can be put on the insole of the shoe or the orthotics. Do not apply to the skin.

Darn tough socks

Darn Tough socks are our favourite and have excellent cushioning under the sole of the sock which will help reduce the pressure on the arch of the foot.

Armaskin sock liner

Armaskin sock liners are brilliant at reducing friction to areas of the foot including the arches, your normal moisture wicking socks are worn over the liner and then the friction is taken up between the Armaskin liner and your sock.

2Toms Blistersheild powder

2Toms blister sheild powder is another great friction reducing product, it can be applied to the skin that is affected by friction, it will feel quite slippy to touch. Do not use on broken skin or pour into a sock. It can also be used on taping and dressings that have been applied to the skin, this helps reduce the rucking of the edges of the dressings

Orthotics

If you have a Biomechanical fault in the foot or leg that may be causing an increase of pressure in the arch and you may need a set of orthotics prescribed by a podiatrist. Your foot type maybe the problem but a podiatrist will be able to work that out for you.

Taping

With either Hypafix® or Kt pro® tape both of these tapes are excellent at reducing the friction on the skin preventing blisters from forming. Just apply either tape like a sling from one side of the foot to the other, without stretching it, secure without creases to the skin, warm the adhesive with your fingers do not use on open skin. Use 2Tomsblistershield powder around the edges of tape to prevent rolling of the tape.

Epitact Epithelium gel ovals

these are reusable and slightly tacky, they adhere to an area of skin and prevent friction and blisters but they will need securing to the skin with Hypafix tape. Do not used on broken skin.

Deflective padding

will take the pressure off an area in the arch that maybe has a lumpy fibroma present, otherwise ask a podiatrist to make a simple insole that will remove the pressure from that area, reducing the chance of blisters.

Check the wear on the heel and sole

of your footwear to make sure the shoe is not putting the foot at an angle when walking or running, footwear has a life span, trainers last up to 350 miles and walking boots up to 1500 miles. They might look ok from the outside but they will be spent on the inside