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4 Ways To Prevent An UNDER Heel Blister

under heel blisters

4 Ways To Prevent An UNDER Heel Blister

Blisters under the heel are one of the least common blisters I see. When they do occur, they’re most often suffered by hikers and runners on downhill terrain. They’re painful, they’re difficult to treat, and you don’t want them to deroof! Prevention is all the more important for an under heel blister. So, this article will look at the four best ways to avoid them.

👉 Note: There are two other types of heel blisters: back-of-heel blisters and heel edge blisters.

4 Prevention strategies for under heel blisters

1) Change your gait

The best preventive strategy for blisters under your heel is to alter your gait, if possible. The following will help. Please keep in mind, these compensations may have a detrimental effect elsewhere and must be implemented gradually:

  • A shorter stride length
  • Making your heel strike more underneath you rather than out in front
  • More knee and hip flexion
  • Avoiding a heel strike and opting for more of a midfoot or forefoot initial contact
Running downhill with a definite heel strike Image credit

2) Lace firmly

Make sure your laces are tied firmly. If that’s not enough to stop your foot from sliding forward in your shoe, use the Lace-Lock (aka Heel-Lock) lacing technique: After making a loop on each side using the last eyelet, take each lace through the opposite loop, pull down to tighten, then tie your normal knot and bow. Oh, and make sure your socks aren’t bunched up under your heel.


3) ENGO Blister Patches

If changing your running (or walking) style is insufficient, and you’ve got your foot firmly secured in your shoe with a good lacing technique, you’ll need to reduce friction levels. Do this with an ENGO Patch.

  • You could cover the whole heel area of your insole with a rectangle patch (lower image). My concern with this is your foot needs a bit of traction when it first hits the ground. ENGO reduces friction so well it will negate much of this traction. I’ve tried this myself – my balance and stability was noticably effected, so please be careful. [I’m assuming your initial contact is heel strike – not always the case for runners]. You’ll find the ENGO Rectangle pack in our online store from the links below.
  • My recommendation is this: If you can possibly get away with it, use a small oval patch to cover only the area that requires protection (upper image). You’ll find these in the ENGO 6-Pack (see links below).
engo patch placement for under heel blisters
ENGO placement for blisters under the heel. Patches under the heel – Small oval (top) rectangle with excess folded over (below).

4) Taping

If none of these work, tape your heels. I suggest using a rigid (non-stretch) sports tape. The theory is it will distribute the shear load over a larger area. It might not be enough to stop the blister from forming, but it will at least help keep any blister roof intact (that is, until you have to pull the tape off!).

how to tape to prevent an under heel blister
Rigid sports blister taping under the heel

Wrapping up

They’re not the most common type of heel blisters. But they are more difficult to treat. A little prevention will go a long way.

Rebecca Rushton

Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leader, author and educator. Can’t cook. Loves test cricket.

No Comments
  • Sarah Oates
    9 April 2015 at 2:35 am

    Thanks for this article, really useful!!

  • Rebecca Rushton
    9 April 2015 at 9:08 am

    Cheers Sarah : )

  • None
    18 July 2015 at 7:02 am

    Thanks my feet are killing me!

  • US Soldier
    15 October 2015 at 2:39 am

    I find, that on 20 mile hikes/walks with large ruck sacks, that a mens dress shoe sock as a first layer and then the primary sock over that, allows all friction to be done to the mens dress sock and not my heels. -Soldier

  • Rebecca Rushton
    24 January 2016 at 10:44 am

    It can take weeks to disappear – you have to wait until the damaged skin layers make their way to the surface and shed. In the meantime, the best you can do is not aggravate it with shoes. And if you do have to wear shoes, do something to reduce the pressure and friction. This might help, Peggy: https://blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/foot-blister-treatment

  • Peggy Aeschlimann
    24 January 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I’ve had a heel blister for a week now from bad footwear on an unexpected hike, and it shows no sign of abating. I am currently on holidays so have been able to just hobble around, but will be going back to work soon, and will be on my feet.I have read your advice on how to tape it, but can you give me any idea on how long it may last?Cheers,Peggy

  • Chris Courtney
    27 February 2016 at 5:29 am

    Thanks for this information. It is coming in handy, since I have two deroofed blisters on my heels. These came courtesy of a pair of boots worn over hard surface(concrete parking lot). Never had blisters with these boots. It looks like a donut pads will be the first thing I try to heal up these heel blisters. Should I keep these dry(no medication on them)? I didn’t see anything regards to that.

  • Rebecca Rushton
    28 February 2016 at 4:40 am

    It’s a pleasure Chris.

    I would put an antiseptic on a deroofed blister while it’s raw and weepy. I’d also use a hydrocolloid dressing. Take a look at 3c on this page: https://blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/foot-blister-treatment

  • Austin
    29 March 2016 at 9:30 am

    I hate to ask online but do I have to be worried about this?:http://i.imgur.com/HJK7j9J.png
    I have 2 deroofed blisters on both heels. Never had this problem in my life but turns out the shoes I bought were too small (size 12 my ass).

  • Rebecca Rushton
    29 March 2016 at 10:13 am

    While I won’t be giving specific advice on your blister Austin, this is what you need to know: https://blisterprevention.com.au/blister-blog/foot-blister-treatment. If you’d like specific advice, see your doctor or podiatrist – they can have a good look at it and tell you if you should be worried about it. All the best.

  • Chris
    7 December 2016 at 4:25 am

    A massive heel blister has on the bootom edge of my foot for almost a year. What treatments can I use for it?

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