Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Little Blister

My first blister

After getting my brand new prosthetic foot this week, I tried to be smart about not wearing it too long to avoid the very thing you see above. Obviously I have a lot and need to learn about this amputation business. Better to learn now than when I am trying to run and put myself on the d/l for a week.

We found this unpleasantness at Floyd Brace by the Freedom Innovations CP who had come to speak at the seminar. I think I didn't see it because it developed on a spot that was one of the last to heal and had the pinkish-red appearance of a scar. On closer inspection, there was the dome of a fluid-filled blister, something that is a minor inconvenience and aggravation for a runner but a showstopper for me.

I was told to put a little mineral oil on it so I used some Aquafor I had on hand from my prior running career. I also used a little Neosporin to help prevent any infection, that being a real disaster should it take hold.

I haven't worn my new foot since the seminar so the blister can heal and will try it again tomorrow. All of this is a learning process; I did not have any direct discomfort from the blister that would have warned me with the stinging pain that something was awry. Now I know what to look for the things I cannot feel on the incision line.

Elevated vac, such as the Otto Bock Harmony and Ohio Willow Wood LimbLogic, help control the volume changes in the residual limb. As the limb contracts under other systems (i.e. suction only) during a normal day, fit is compromised. Given your skin is sweating in the oven of the liner, soon problems can occur like my blister.

Amy Palmiero-Winters told me that fit is the key for the amputee. I now have first-hand experience about what this means, and it will be exaggerated for the runner I intend to be.


On Thursday when my blister was discovered, I was to be an active participant in the Freedom Innovations seminar at HealthSouth adjacent to Trident Hospital. I was going to walk in my Renegade LP foot, but my blister prevented that activity. The seminar was rather dry in that too many products were mentioned with little practical knowledge imparted to the rehab audience in my opinion. Several prosthetic feet were available for inspection, but the Nitro Running foot was sadly missing. This was more of a sales event and less of a reason for obtaining continuing education credits or knowledge. I hope all of the Freedom Innovation clinics/seminars are not quite so focused on the products.

With this event so poorly attended, the subsequent Otto Bock seminar was cancelled. I had hoped to see their Harmony system in action, but that will have to wait.


It is Sunday as I write this and the blister has subsided, looks like the fluid may have been absorbed into the skin. Tomorrow I will try to wear my prosthesis again; the incision line looks good except for this spot and where the larger scab was located. The latter keeps getting smaller and now is two tiny areas, but they still need some more time to heal. I will do my best to avoid getting another blister and need to take it easy until everything is fully healed. I'll inspect more diligently, but since I couldn't feel this last blister I'm not sure if I can avoid another.

To the non-amps and especially any runners: reading about this tiny blister probably makes you chuckle a bit and I couldn't fault you for that. In high school wearing old school canvas (Riddell?) track shoes, I often had blisters that covered my entire heels...and that did not stop the training either. A blister on the incision line, if infected, could become serious in short order and means I cannot wear my prosthesis, as the blister heals more slowly under a non-breathable liner. The latter is just untenable in my opinion for a multitude if reasons. Skin that cannot breathe will have trouble sooner or later. It's only a matter of time.


There are no seminars or appointments scheduled for next week. I will talk to Larry about upcoming plans and what he thinks my chances are for getting a sponsorship. Once I am running I think that will be easier, but right now my recovery is taking longer than I had anticipated.

For further motivation, I just received "Blade Runner" by Oscar Pistorius. I have several amputee-related books to read including "Amped" by Kortney Clemons and Bill Briggs and "Up and Running" by Jami Goldman and Andrea Cagan.

The latter is a book I bought Jennifer, my sweet wife, a number of years ago as motivation for her running efforts. Then I was running upward of 80 miles a week and there was no thought of amputation in my mind. I felt I could have run hundred mile weeks if I had time.

Now I borrow the book from her.

And I'm looking forward to running around the block again.


  1. I hope you heal soon,and I will look into donating.

  2. The reason why I care so much about these things is because I have gone through a tough experience as well. And whenever someone needs a shoulder to tag along with, whether I'm in person or not, I'll help.