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What’s the cure for rowing blisters?

A reader wrote to us asking Our son is a serious rower and has painful, cracked callouses on … read more

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A reader wrote to us asking

Our son is a serious rower and has painful, cracked callouses on his hands. What is the best way to speed healing? Thank you.
We wrote a book all about this because his experience is not un-common.

Firstly healing the callouses.

Soak hands in warm water.

Soap vigorously when the skin is softened and warmed and use a pumice stone to rub over the surface of the callouses to reduce their height

Dry hands carefully and apply hand cream to soften skin.

Do this every night.

Sleep with cotton gloves on to keep the cream on his hands. A lanolin based cream is good as it’s heavy and greasy. It should absorb over night.

Over time, the callouses reduce in depth and if he gets new blisters they are not so deep in the epidermis.

Secondly, prevention

He needs to learn how to tape his hands properly to protect the cut skin and give cushioning so he doesn’t aggravate them while rowing and allows the healing to continue.

We wrote an ebook about this – Blisters and Skin Injuries in Rowing

Thirdly – hygiene

His hands will get more resistant to blisters the more he rows. Develop good hand hygiene habits.

Resist the urge to use teeth to pull off skin that’s ragged.

Cut off loose skin and hang nails or burst blisters with sharp nail scissors.

Be aware of water-bourne diseases and wash hands after rowing every day and before eating and make sure his tetanus injections are up to date.

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe
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