When lifting blisters get infected

Here I am, unable to lift today because I was careless about a blister from Tuesday. This is somewhat humiliating because it would never have happened had I taken the minimum hygiene procedures. That sort of thing your mom used to yell all the time before you were ten and you did the same with your kids? That’s it: “go wash your hands!”

Sitting here sad and depressed made me recall the number of times I saw so many of my friends do exactly the same thing: leave the gym in a hurry without washing their hands.

Usually nothing happens (but it’s a no-no: remember mom and granny). The barbell knurling is abrasive, but our hands have strong calluses and the skin is not sufficiently damaged as to create a cut or opening.

When a blister is dramatically ripped open, like in the picture bellow, then we finish our training session (or we have to admit it has been aborted by the accident) and wash our hands. No: nobody is stupid enough not to wash something like that. I don’t know about you, but I never had an infection from the many ruined blisters I had from heavy deadlifting.

Tuesday was not a deadlift day: it was snatch and clean & jerk. In the end of the session, my hand was mildly red and tender. A bit itchy.

The next day was bench press and the hand was still a little funny and itchy. By the end of the session, there was a clear red area that was sore. A few hours later, there was a small, insignificant opening in the edge of what was now obviously a blister with a red edge.

Because I never took it seriously, I proceeded to the second training session and didn’t look at it again until, when I did, I could hardly close my left hand. The blister was swollen, red, hot and throbbing.

Yes, it was definitely an infection.

Bellow are some links I found useful about recognizing, preventing and caring for infected wounds.

For our purposes, in spite of their obviousness, I believe the following points are worth always keeping in mind:

  1. Steel knurling is abrasive and will cause skin damage, ALWAYS, no matter what.
  2. Steel knurling creates a nice culture medium for bacteria inside it’s grooves, with skin debris, sweat, and things not really worth mentioning
  3. Most of the time there will be no open skin wound and sometimes there will be a dramatic ripped up bleeding blister. Between one and the other situation there might be a few times where the knurling opens tiny little cuts on the skin
  4. Washing your hands really well with water and soap is sufficient to avoid infection

It is THAT simple!

Isn’t it ridiculous?






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