Foot pain: An inevitable consequence of roller derby?
Yup, that's my nasty foot. I suffer from perpetual blood blisters on the ball of my foot and my big toe, the occasional bonus on the arch if my other padding slips and starts rubbing the wrong way. I have been skating for almost a year and I have had bad blisters the entire time. I thought buying skates that fit would fix this issue (I had been wearing skates 1.5 sizes too big for the first 8 months), but I am still getting the rub. I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so typically I can make it through practice, but it's often painful enough the next day that I can't walk normally. It also makes back-to-back practices very difficult because my feet don't have enough time to heal.
Over the past year I received a lot of roller derby wisdom regarding how to treat them--pop them, drain them, cut them off, tape them, pad them, smack it up flip it rub it down oh noooooo!--with some of that advice working better than others. I must have spent $100 on different types of insoles. Nothing worked totally, though, so I gave up and decided to go see a pro. Here is some of the advice the podiatrist gave me. Mind, this is one doctor's opinion, and of course everyone's feet are different, so find what works for you:
1. If you have blood blisters, pierce them with a sterile needle and drain them.
If they are clear, leave them alone or use a blister treatment pad.
2. Never cut your calluses off with nail scissors, clippers, hedge trimmers,
your teef, etc. Wear them down a little once a week with a pumice stone.
3. Occasionally skaters will complain about a cramp on the side of the foot for the length of the foot. The doc says this is probably a consequence of skating--because you are lifting something heavy with your foot, the foot's natural tendency is to activate the muscles and curl the foot up a bit. Because you can't really relax the foot back and spread your foot flat in the skate after that tension when you're skating hard, the foot can seize up and cramp. He said the best thing to do is when you come to rest or a normal skating position (not turning, which is when this is most likely to occur) try to flatten your foot in the skate, spreading your toes, or rub the top of your foot through the skate.
4. Finally, if you are padding a spot on your feet and it's not working, be aware that it could be causing an imbalance elsewhere and thus causing other unpleasant symptoms. I had been putting thick padding (a big, squishy Bunga pad and/or cosmetic sponges) to protect the inside balls of my feet, but that was causing my foot not to rest flat in my skate, thus aggravating other parts of my foot, causing it to curl up unnaturally whenskating, and causing cramps and blisters elsewhere. That instability actually worsens the rubbing and the resultant blister. Instead, consider padding the non-aggravated area around the wound to keep the foot stable and make sure it rests evenly in the skate.
Anyway, I hope some of this information is useful for those of you who are out there suffering. If you've got another tip, be sure to share in the comments!