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How to avoid those Carnival blisters

Carnival is here, the fetes have started and it’s a long season. Enjoy yourself, but be smart. Most shoes have a strap or are enclosed at the back, so exercise wisdom when selecting shoes, and certainly when selecting shoes for a fete. Whether it’s a regular fete or an all-inclusive, it requires lots of standing, and in many instances a lot of walking too.
Walking to and from the vehicle and venue; walking to the bar and food stalls; walking searching for friends; and most important, walking closer to the stage when your favourite artistes are on. The walking doesn’t end; cause it’s walking on the treadmill at the gym, and walking around the savannah, for pan, jouvert, and the walk of all walks...Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Well actually that includes jumping and wining. Get the picture?.
Blisters are caused by excessive friction, and the discomfort of becoming accustomed to rubbing and extra usage of mobility or restrictive natural movement.
They can be extremely painful, and if not treated swiftly, can deter sufferers from further walking or physical exercise and movement. Taking preventative measures, however, can considerably help minimise the risk of them developing.

Causes
A change in physical movement will impact on the amount of potential friction feet and footwear create. Switching from a sedentary lifestyle to a more physical and mobile regime can present many opportunities for blisters to develop.
Not only footwear, but socks and hosiery can also cause blisters. So ensure that your feet are comfortable at all times.
They can also occur when the skin is exposed to excessive heat, such as sunburn or a scald, as a reaction to a chemical substance, or as a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Minimising the occurrence
Stopping blisters before they occur is not only sensible, but important to the comfort of your feet. If you are increasing the amount of walking that you do, or starting a new exercise regime, it’s best to gradually lengthen the period of movement. That way, pressure or friction to the foot and heels remains comfortable. Over exertion can increase foot pain dramatically, which very quickly will result in a blister.
Adjusting your posture can also impact on the comfort of your feet during prolonged periods of movement. A simple adjustment in your stride, or posture, could be all that is required to minimise blister risk. Allowing your feet and body to become accustomed to any change in pressure, will enable you to assess comfort levels during walking or exercise. Being aware of this preventative step can be all you need to reduce your experience of irritating blisters.
Understanding why blisters develop will help you choose the best level of footwear support. Sports shoes and trainers must therefore provide a good standard of support, in order to reduce your risk; Carnival boots too. When deciding to wear sandals, and other strappy footwear, potential friction areas should be assessed.

Alternative suggestions
Increasing the amount of water you drink can surprisingly reduce footwear discomfort that results in the formation of blisters. Being always adequately hydrated means your body is able to sweat properly. Dehydration causes salt crystals to develop on the skin as sodium is released through the body. This can cause rubbing and chafing when walking and exercising.
If you are particularly susceptible to painful blisters, massaging a lubricant into the skin of your feet before walking or exercise, is worth considering. The sensitive areas of your feet would not rub uncomfortably.
Freedom of foot movement can also be improved by using foot powder, to reduce the moisture in footwear that can potentially lead to friction. Alternating the shoes you wear also keeps footwear fresh and moisture free, while minimising discomfort.
The removal of shoes is almost as important as the correct fit and wear. Pulling shoes off can result in unnecessary friction of the heel, which over time creates a potential blister hot spot. Taking care over the way you treat your feet at all times will therefore help to keep them in top condition.

Treatment
Most blisters heal naturally and do not require medical attention. As new skin grows underneath the blister, your body will slowly reabsorb the fluid in the blister and the skin on top will dry and peel off.
The unbroken skin over a blister provides a natural barrier to infection. It’s important that the skin remains intact to avoid infection. As tempting as it may be, try not to pierce a blister with a needle, since it could lead to an infection, or slow down the healing process. Allow the skin to peel off on its own after the skin beneath has healed.
You may choose to cover small blisters with a plaster. Larger blisters can be covered with a gauze pad or dressing that can be taped in place.
Painful blisters, or those in positions where they are likely to burst, such as on the sole of your foot, can be covered with a soft dressing to cushion and protect them. Change the dressing daily and wash your hands before touching the blister to avoid infection.

Prevention
There are several ways to avoid getting blisters:
• Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes, and clean socks.
• They are more likely to develop on moist skin. If you have sweaty feet, use moisture-absorbing socks or change your socks daily.
• If you play sport or exercise regularly, wearing sports socks or thicker wool socks can help keep your feet dry and reduce your risk of getting them.
• If you’re going for a long walk, wear shoes that fit properly, are comfortable and have been worn before. Brand new shoes that aren’t broken in may not be comfortable and may rub.
• Stop immediately if you feel a hot area on your foot while walking, exercising or playing sport. If possible, tape some padding over the area.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!

Leana Huntley is an English trained foot health practitioner attached to ALMAWI Limited The Holistic Clinic. For further information e-mail info@almawiclinic.com or visit the clinic at www.almawiclinic.com
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