Blisters, chafing and pruning (trench foot) are all examples of avoidable problems.
We developed GurneyGoo primarily to deal with these 3 problems.
You’ll know the frustration when your adventure, race or training session is limited, shortened or painful due to something that could have been avoided.
- Chafing : rubbing and friction from clothing, straps and equipment.
- Blisters: painful bubbles from rubbing.
- Pruning / trench foot: wrinkling and softening of skin from being continuously wet. Extreme pruning leads to trench foot which is debilitating.
Chafing and rubbing
I like to think of the first step in the downward spiral of events as rubbing and chafing.
Rubbing and chafing can be caused by friction from shoes, boots, pack-straps, bra-straps, undies, shorts, clothing on nipples, kayak seats etc,
We all know the uncomfortable start and then the eventual pain and burning sensation when something rubs against our skin for too long.
Left unchecked the skin can rub so raw that it bleeds or forms a blister.
Blisters can also be formed from heat, sunburn, chemicals, and some medical conditions such as chicken pox etc. but here we're talking about the prevention of rub/chafe blisters.
At a mechanical level if the friction is light rubbing or scratching, eventually the skin will be irritated, and then further rubbing may cause chafing, causing the skin to be rubbed raw and “angry”. Continued rubbing and friction can cause the skin to bleed and graze.
Prevention is by far the best solution.
First step is to develop awareness. This can be either from previous experience with rubbing clothing for example, or by simply developing greater vigilance. Many inexperienced athletes ignore the first signs, either justifying that they just need to toughen up, or their awareness is masked by the endorphin buzz, or “runners high”. Seasoned athletes have learned that this awareness can give a competitive edge to avoid loss of performance, loss of enjoyment and to prevent injuries. They develop a new skill of awareness during their activity sessions.
Nipping a problem “in the bud” is useful.
- The simplest solution is to use GurneyGoo just before your session on the areas that you know give you problems.
- Next solution is to take a small tube of Gurney Goo in your pocket, camel back or toolkit. When, during your session, you start to develop a “hotspot” apply a liberal smear to the skin and/or offending clothing/apparatus.
Alternatives are to apply tape or dressings to the area eg a band-aid, second skin, Compeed or, if the area is large, duct tape works a treat!
If the problem consistently persists after a few weeks, it might be time to consider altering or replacing the equipment or clothing.
I’ve deliberately worn some clothing inside-out to ensure the seams and labels don’t chafe me. E.g. lycra kayaking shorts, running tops and even underwear.
Some sports clothing designers seem to miss the important points about user comfort by putting bulky seams in the wrong places and using stiff and annoying labels.
I usually cut out the labels as soon as I buy clothing, but this often doesn’t solve the problem because of the cut-off edge that is left.
Friction blisters are caused by excess shear stress between the surface of the skin and the body. The strata of skin around the Stratum Spinosum are most susceptible to shear. As the Stratum Spinosum tears away from the connecting tissues below, plasma from the cells diffuses out. This plasma solution helps new cells divide and grow into new connective tissues and epidermal layers.
The clear fluid will be reabsorbed as new cells develop and the swollen appearance will subside. The time for blisters to heal depends on the location and the size of the area damaged. Protecting the blister from abrasion or additional shearing will help keep the blister intact.