Friction blisters are one of the most common injuries encountered in hikers, runners, and endurance athletes (1). Although most are of minor medical significance they can impair concentration, decrease athletic performance and enjoyment, and be potentially debilitating. However, once the protective function of the intact skin has been breached, cellulitis and sepsis may follow resulting in catastrophic consequences in the “at-risk” diabetic population. Rates of incidence in the outdoor community range from 54% of backpackers to 64% of long-distance hikers (2,3).
We present a novel approach to blister prevention. A 6 layer circular pad that sticks to the shoe and not the foot. The pad is 45mm in diameter and 3mm thick and tackles the three aetiological factors associated with blister formation. It has a wick away top cover, disc technology to reduce friction, and it incorporates Silipos gel to reduce pressure. If a blister already exists the cushioning takes away the pain and if the blister bursts the top layer of the sandwich wicks away moisture reducing the risk of infection.
PelliTec proved better in seven out of nine independent sensory tests performed and equivalent in the other two when compared with Engo - which is the only other product on the market which sticks to the inside of footwear, not the skin.
The most important of these tests regarding blister prevention and treatment was cushioning and PelliTec gives 66% better cushioning than Engo. It was 33% better than Compeed.
The other six areas where PelliTec outperformed Engo are as follows:
8 subjects (7 male, 1 female) were recruited to the study on a voluntary basis. The study was carried out during the Tranmere Futsal world record attempt. Age range 18 to 35 (Ave 29). All had previous history of blistering and all had played futsal previously and attended the training and preparation sessions which were carried out in the preceding 2 months. They were allowed to wear their own brand and style of footwear and socks. Each participant was allowed to request pads at any time during the game The pads were fitted by one of 2 members of the research team and the subjects name, age, sex, and area that the pad was placed, time and date, were recorded on a data sheet.
Using the tested product, all subjects were able to participate in the world record attempt. They went on to play continuously for 50 hours breaking the existing record. One subject, an 18 year-old male, wore the product from the start on his 1st metatarsal heads which remained blister free but then went on to develop blisters on the apices of his third toe after 20 hour period . Pads were placed into his boots at the symptomatic places and he reported that he ceased to feel the pain and was able to continue.
A 34 year-old male who had found he was blistering during the 12 hour pre- challenge training sessions. He used the pads throughout the 50 hour challenge and suffered no blistering.
The Futsal trial of the Pellitec blister pads, although anecdotal in quality, shows there is a great need for a reliable and specific blister reliable management system. We believe that in this trial our product proved a successful alternative to the current commercially available choices of blister dressings and preventive hosiery.