3

votes

Major Blister Big Toe when Barefoot

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 12, 2010 at 8:46 PM

I'm getting serious big toe blisters when playing in VFFs or barefoot
I'm not building callouses because it's literally tearing off skin each time
when I do get a callus it tears off next game
Help! I don't want to stop playing or give up barefooting

Photo for clarity:


edit: Trashed the same toe today playing Ultimate unshod. completely ripped the skin off, to the point its bleeding underneath. at a loss for ideas on how to build this callous. Rest of my feet are tough as nails.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 26, 2011
at 03:42 PM

Keep us posted on your barefoot endeavors Stephen!

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:08 PM

But i hear if thats you only injury at ulti you are doing better than most ;)

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I worked with a coach for a whole season and actually changed the way I planted (didn't plant so hard) and it worked - so even now when I pick up a racket (15 years later) I don't get the blister from hell. It took time and practice though.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 22, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Fairly sure it's how I'm planting, but as it's unconscious at fast paced game, don't know how to correct. Tennis is identical planting

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 21, 2011
at 10:19 PM

No worries, thanks for trying and cheers for a new non-ignorant doctor in the workforce!

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on March 21, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Maybe combine this idea with doing some cone drills/sprints on cement: http://magazine.stack.com/Exercises/2398/FlagCone_Sprints.aspx or similar...

Ab19df3ededa28f7bf7daeba8435b205

(1471)

on March 21, 2011
at 04:09 AM

This doesnt look like a standard blister unless the colors are off as the skin looks very inflamed, infected even. I also notice what looks like athletes foot. Maybe go back to cotton socks and conventional treatment of AF and soak that blister. Also try blister block when that heals. Good luck

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 21, 2011
at 03:19 AM

His problem is pivoting while he's playing sports. Not walking.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 21, 2011
at 03:11 AM

Sorry Stephen, I wish I could help ... give me a couple years until I go to naturopathic med school and then I might have more alternatives. ;)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 21, 2011
at 02:01 AM

sadly its not a running blister, but more a torque from turning quickly. the link doesnt talk about how to prevent them, just that he got one and taped it to keep running. I may attempt taping with a breathable tape before the games.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 21, 2011
at 12:45 AM

started a bounty, desperate for a working solution.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 04, 2010
at 03:58 PM

Added image for clarity

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 04, 2010
at 03:56 PM

My skin is like that because I wore VFFs around the waterpark all day

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 15, 2010
at 12:15 PM

Underside base maybe slight to outside

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 15, 2010
at 12:07 PM

No, the vffs are so comfortable as is. Do they prevent blisters?

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on June 15, 2010
at 06:41 AM

When you wear VFFs, do you wear the Injinji socks?

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:01 AM

on the underside? or where it rubs on the next toe?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 13, 2010
at 02:22 AM

Happens on my right big toe, at the pivot point . We play for 2-3 hours, I'll try baby powder with vffs but it happens barefoot too

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on June 13, 2010
at 02:14 AM

sorry, just realized you said "or barefoot"...so where exactly is this blister occurring? some of the above might help, but I misread your original post and thought you were always playing in VFF

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 13, 2010
at 12:29 AM

Yes, I'm using VFFs.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 12, 2010
at 11:18 PM

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15 Answers

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2
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 25, 2011
at 03:55 AM

Alright, attempt # 2.

First off, the picture you've posted looks like you have a blood blister. I may be wrong, but if this is the case. This NEEDS TO HEAL first. Otherwise, callus, irritation, blister, possible infection, repeat. (Yeah yeah ... I said that before, but frankly it concerns me, I want you to keep your feet and keep bein' active like you like to be so I reiterated it.)

As for the callus:

A callus is the result of friction on the skin. The body reacts by forming layers of skin cells from 25 to over 100 skin cells thick. Geez louise, our bodies are amazing! You want these layers. So, you need to create some friction and start that cell growth. Think about guitarists, violinists, manual laborers, etc they have calluses on their finger tips or the grooves of their hands where they repeatedly apply friction. When I was 'trying' to learn to play the violin I had to repeatedly play on sore and tender fingertips until I started to get the beginnings of calluses (and boy was I excited!!), took a while, but the key was repeated friction on those areas.

After the area is healed or to a point where it is no longer really tender you could apply pressure to that area of the foot (e. g. where you want the callus to form). This could range from waking up wearing a shoe that rubs against that area, going for a walk on some concrete that provides a good amount of friction, or perhaps rubbing something on that area, then go about your business and repeat the procedure later in the day (perhaps multiple times, if you work, maybe during breaks). If the area seems to be getting really tender, stop and wait until the next day and go at it again. Hopefully this will speed up the callus forming process by providing friction to the area but in small increments throughout the day, rather than one full-fledged cell disrupting party.

Alright, that's all I got.

5
5472f6c94387c7fc82a04da4885363b0

(353)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:08 PM

Start doing 3 mile barefoot walks in the morning on cement. Do this regularly for several weeks. Take off those stupid Vibrams when you are doing this. The problem with Vibrams it allows people to perform Barefoot movements before they know how to (the pain feedback loop when you do something wrong is higher when you are truly barefoot).

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 21, 2011
at 03:19 AM

His problem is pivoting while he's playing sports. Not walking.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on March 21, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Maybe combine this idea with doing some cone drills/sprints on cement: http://magazine.stack.com/Exercises/2398/FlagCone_Sprints.aspx or similar...

2
Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 22, 2011
at 06:09 PM

Hmmmmmm...interesting injury - looks like it hurt!

Since you don't want to give up barefooting...I would suggest getting someone to videotape you playing. I am guessing that you are planting on that toe too much (I used to do this when I played tennis - in shoes- and had a very similar looking toe blister/crater). If you are planting on that toe too much - there are ways to 'train' yourself not to do that anymore. I am really not an expert, but I'm sure that you would be able to speak to a coach/trainer that you know regarding a change in your gait while playing.

Good luck! And I really hope that you can figure this out so that you can keep on playing barefoot!

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:08 PM

But i hear if thats you only injury at ulti you are doing better than most ;)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 22, 2011
at 06:27 PM

Fairly sure it's how I'm planting, but as it's unconscious at fast paced game, don't know how to correct. Tennis is identical planting

Medium avatar

(12379)

on March 22, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I worked with a coach for a whole season and actually changed the way I planted (didn't plant so hard) and it worked - so even now when I pick up a racket (15 years later) I don't get the blister from hell. It took time and practice though.

1
24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 21, 2011
at 06:47 PM

Ow that is a crazy blister! I wonder if putting some powder in the VFFs might help?

1
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on March 21, 2011
at 03:22 AM

I've used moleskin in a similar situation, although it wasn't with VFFs (it was my pre-barefoot days). I used the moleskin to cover the area until it was strengthened. It's thick enough to protect the area, but thin enough to help build up some strength.

1
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on March 21, 2011
at 02:48 AM

You are overdoing it. Lighten up.

If that doesn't work for you, the cult of torn calluses (esp. pullup stigmata) is a good way to get attention for failure to do the above.

1
B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 21, 2011
at 01:28 AM

Here are a couple websites I found on the subject. The first is a self-report of becoming a barefoot runner and dealing with blisters (to skip to that section I just did ctrl + find, blisters).

http://barefootrunner.org/reflections/04reflections.htm

http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/barefoot-running-and-blisters-6-things-you-can-do-2429280.html

Frankly, I think you need to bandage the blister, apply an antibacterial of some sort, allow it to air out a bit, take it easy (not what you want to hear), and let it heal a bit.

In the long run, it seems this will just be a cycle of blister, pealing off, not healing, repeat. If you just let it heal up a bit, tape it perhaps before an activity, and slowly let it start callousing up. In the long run ... it this seems healthier than continued blisters. :(

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 21, 2011
at 10:19 PM

No worries, thanks for trying and cheers for a new non-ignorant doctor in the workforce!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 21, 2011
at 02:01 AM

sadly its not a running blister, but more a torque from turning quickly. the link doesnt talk about how to prevent them, just that he got one and taped it to keep running. I may attempt taping with a breathable tape before the games.

B1fcaceba952861d0324bdb291edbbe0

(3159)

on March 21, 2011
at 03:11 AM

Sorry Stephen, I wish I could help ... give me a couple years until I go to naturopathic med school and then I might have more alternatives. ;)

1
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on June 14, 2010
at 02:57 AM

I place great stock in Hoofmaker by straight arrow. This is a foot creme original formulated for making equine hooves strong and flexible. I use it to keep my own Feet tough and flexible. Hand calluses, too. In poking around the web, I found that rock climbers, guitar players, and bare footers seem to really like it.

http://www.straightarrowinc.com/products/animals/hoofmaker.asp

Take it easy till you grow in a new strong flexible callus... Then run for the fun.

0
693a853cf1ff334a06250d3549074493

on May 27, 2011
at 02:00 PM

It's the vibrams. Use your finger to feel inside the toe. You will feel a ridge or seem that you can't feel with your toe. It's very pronounce and when you feel it you will understand why you have such a bad blister. I have the same problem with my right big toe getting a deep deep blister. I thought it was just me or the fact that my vibrams were new. I let it heal for over a month, then started running with my vibrams again. I run anywhere from 400m - 1600m at a time when I wear my vibrams, usually during SEALfit workouts. The blister came back again. I have been a long distance trail runner all my life or about 20 years of exercising.

0
Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on March 22, 2011
at 05:37 PM

Get a pair of Injinji liners and see if there's improvement - chances are there will be. Toe socks in the VFFs generally help with blister issues. The other option is to simply put less stress on your feet by not playing as hard or as often, but since that's not fun, try out the liners and slowly minimize their use (i.e. start with the liners on, then take them off earlier each game) and see if there's improvement.

The liners are nice because they're very thin, so don't add any real cushion to the base of your foot. Assuming that your VFFs are somewhat loose, you may want to get thicker Injinji socks, but if they're already very snug, then try the liners to start with.

Running on asphalt barefoot helped us build up callouses also, but only when we were sprinting, and the stress built quickly. In other words, don't do this so much that you risk tearing the skin, and as soon as you feel a blister forming, stop, put on your shoes, and walk home.

NuSkin, superglue, or similar might help also, but if you put on too little in an area and the area just outside it begins to develop a blister, the whole thing might tear off, so we'd experiment carefully with this.

0
Fe33d1321dad116f6fedd60266d0498b

on March 21, 2011
at 08:19 PM

It looks like the blister forms under your walking-callus, I'm guessing, whenever you Ultimate, which then lets the callus rip right off and you start the whole process again. So- add a layer of something in between the blister-toe and your Vibrams (or wear a toe-condom of some sort when barefooting- but I'm thinking a Vibram would be less likely to fall off halfway through a game). It's probably the fact that your big toe is much more involved when you do the sort of sudden-stop, pivot, sudden-start movements in Ultimate. So- try to cut back on the involvement of the big toe in those movements- use the ball of your foot just under it a little more. It's better suited to the pressure, anyway, I would think. :)

There's the anti-chafe stuff for runners- maybe that would help a bit inside the vibram. Or just fill that toe of the shoe up with Vaseline- it will definitely remind you to coddle it a bit, just with the weird squishiness feeling.

0
Ada8bc57e46ceb7fe5741f635b2632fc

(25)

on March 21, 2011
at 02:37 PM

I keep getting the same thing when I run a mile or longer in my Vibrams. Though, not as severe. I bought the Injinji socks and they work good at preventing the blister from coming back, but is not the cheapest trick. I like not wearing socks with my Vibrams so ill usually just put a peice of duct tape over the area that is prone to get a blister and it holds up fine... best of all, no blister!

0
9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on June 13, 2010
at 02:13 AM

what are the weather/field conditions when you play, how long do you play and what do you do immediately after? While VFF are great (I actually don't wear anything else, at all) they have one downfall: they trap moisture and sweat. When you sweat and your feet are stuck in them for an extended period of time they make your skin all pruny and soft. This, combined with the fact that sweat causes extra friction, makes it difficult for your skin to form and keep callouses. When you tear skin off, once it "scabs over", it needs to be kept dry in order to stay hard and protect the new skin growing underneith. Also, when you are trying to form callouses, it is essential that you keep your skin as dry as possible. If you are playing if damp grass, or hot temperatures is greatly exaggerates this problem.

Here are some suggestions: put your VFF on seconds before gametime take them off seconds after gametime try to avoid wet grass if you can (play in evening or afternoon if the other players are OK with it) try talcom or baby powder in your VFF if its really hot out.

or the best one (depending on where the field is and if you don't have to worry about druggies needles or anything, not that VFF would really keep them out anyway...) is to PLAY BAREFOOT!!! This is what I do for ultimate or any other sport, especially on grass. if you have been wearing VFF for a while your feet should be conditioned to it, and if the field is maintained well you should be fairly confident and shouldn't have any problems. It is literally the best feeling ever!!

just my two cents...

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 13, 2010
at 02:22 AM

Happens on my right big toe, at the pivot point . We play for 2-3 hours, I'll try baby powder with vffs but it happens barefoot too

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on June 13, 2010
at 02:14 AM

sorry, just realized you said "or barefoot"...so where exactly is this blister occurring? some of the above might help, but I misread your original post and thought you were always playing in VFF

9a3307dc00af6a76af1aa31cedf9156e

(418)

on June 13, 2010
at 05:01 AM

on the underside? or where it rubs on the next toe?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 15, 2010
at 12:15 PM

Underside base maybe slight to outside

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on July 04, 2010
at 03:58 PM

Added image for clarity

0
25ea5acd30c5a5f64e7f8e6754fcecb6

(0)

on June 12, 2010
at 11:34 PM

Have you tried Vibram Five Fingers. They're as close to barefoor as you can get.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 13, 2010
at 12:29 AM

Yes, I'm using VFFs.

0
8e75344356f4a455185ee52da0b90bf2

on June 12, 2010
at 10:10 PM

What are you playing? An organised sport?

I often play outside with my kids (in the dirt yard - not much grass) and I never have problems, but it's not anywhere near as vigerous as, say football(soccer) with repetative moves.

I'm sorry this is happening. :( Perhaps your feet just need to get toughened up over time? Ouchie! It sounds painful! {{{PaleoHugs!}}}

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on June 12, 2010
at 11:18 PM

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