Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boot Whisperer Jr. and the Best Blister Solution

Remember the Gold Level skater at my rink that consulted me about a blister on her heel?  I didn't have the right stuff available, but I made some suggestions, and sent her on her merry way. Well this week she came back to me with the results of her blister protection experiments. Let's think of her  as Boot Whisperer Jr.

That's what I want to see; real science applied to figure skating! Gold Skater did a fractional factorial experiment using the following protection devices:


Gel Blister pad

Doughnut Callus pad

Medical Tape

Gold Skater's Report
1. Band aid only. Pretty worthless. Band aid comes off while skating.
2. Band aid plus medical tape. Keeps the band aid in place but blister still hurts.
3. Gel blister pad only. Same as #1. It feels good to start but the pad moves after skating and then is worthless after it migrates from the blister. 
4. Gel blister pad, with callus pad on top. Worthless. Everything moves while skating. 
5. Callus pad (ones with the cut out hole) on its own. Worthless. It moves around when skating.
6. Callus pad plus medical tape. It stays in place but the blister still rubs against the boot so it hurts.
In summary for the above

7. Gel blister pad plus medical tape. Now we are getting somewhere. This only works well when the band aid has formed an air bubble over the band aid (it takes 1-2 days of wearing the blister pad for the air bubble to form). This feels good and prevents the blister from hurting. Without the air bubble, the combo is worthless.   
But maybe it could be still better?

8. Gel blister pad with corn pad plus medical tape. This is the winning combination and is even better when the gel blister pad has the air bubble.

So, thanks to Gold Skater for her tireless research and contributions to skating science backed up by experiment and testing. 


  1. Thanks for the detailed analysis! This is incredible helpful!

  2. That is some tireless experimentation she did! She definitely earned her title of Boot Whisperer Jr. I hope it solved her problem. Blisters can be painful!

  3. How do we know that the blister wasn't improving on it's own, over the course of the experiment, and thereby biasing the outcome? Would it be possible for the subject to replicate all of the trial interventions with multiple blisters on both feet?

    While on the subject of foot remedies, I can report that I use those same do-nut shaped, self-stick pads on a bursa on the top of one of my feet. It does a good job of staying in place while skating and is less bulky than the thick piece of felt which my ortho-guy gave me as a cushion.

    Self-stick moleskin is better (at least in my hands) than the little gel "bunionette" pads that slip over a pinky toe--sticky moleskin pads stay in place while the bunionette thingy moves out of its optimum position while putting on socks, never mind skating.