Preventing and Treating Blisters

From the USTA’s “Player to Player” Column:

From Ken, Highland Park, IL:

Usually having your hands toughen up from playing is a good thing. When you haven’t played for sometime that is when a blister usually happens. Putting the hand in hot water and washing it a lot helps. You might want to look at his grip size and also might want to try some over grip. Another thing could be the way he is holding the racket.

From Mary, Osprey, FL:

I am Mary, now of Osprey, Florida and I am speaking of experience with my son from the time he was a junior player thru college. He is 51 now and still plays competitive tennis and loves it still so all may not be lost.

My son probably was not as bad as you describe your son but he had the bumps under the skin and pain. He tried the tennis glove, pads and various ways to try to relieve the problem. He did finally get the way he gripped the racket changed and helped. My son had the heel or very end of the racket held so that it laid right in that fatty part of the heel of the hand. He moved the racket so the end of it did not press into that part of his hand so much. Eventually he had (during tennis career in college) he had to have carpel tunnel surgery as his right arm from the hand up started swelling and the pain was excruciating to his elbow. The carpel tunnel surgery left a scar and tenderness such that he had to adjust the racket differently again and took a little time but eventually was ok. I am not sure if this helps much but maybe helps to know it does happen and I will say good luck and hope he can find a solution so as not to have to do the carpel tunnel surgery but I am assuming it is where that nerve can be affected too.

From Rick, Lugoff, SC:

The Bionic Glove for tennis would be a good addition to his “wardrobe”.

From Tom (PTR Instructor), Manchester, NH:

Dear Karen, it shouldn’t go with the territory. I would definitely try the Wilson Pro Overgrips. Best buy is 12 pack.

Also to help get rid of the callous and to prevent it, get some lotion that has stearic acid in it…usually it is in the cheaper brands. Dollar store stuff; ‘ ‘Perfect Purity’ brand Advanced Lubricating skin lotion.

Why is it happening…sounds like he is holding the butt cap or bottom of the grip a little high in his hand. He could try and choke up just a little (1/2″?) so the butt cab is on the heel pad or better yet find a certified tennis pro (PTR/USPTA) and ask him to check his grip and bio-mechanics of his strokes to find the root cause and how to fix it. Should be just a one time lesson for even a half hour to find the problem….more to fix it if you can’t get it on your own. Good luck…

From Don, Livonia, MI:

Try some Teflon tape on his hand. You can find it at a bowling center or pro shop. Bowlers use it for callous & blisters on there thumbs & fingers.

From Peter, Westport, CT:

My name is Peter and I am a certified teaching pro in Westport, CT.  I suggest using a nail file to shave the callous down.  It gets rid of the excess tough skin and is painless.  As for the grip I suggest tourna grips for him to use.

*Please note that any advice given out in this forum should in no way be confused with actual medical advice. Before starting any new exercise regimen or altering your existing one, we strongly urge you to consult with your regular physician.

Here’s a few from USTA’s LinkIn page:

Aldrin Deloria • Definitely use overgrips, and change them every 2-4 hitting sessions YMMV. If you use overgrips beyond their useful life, it increases potential for blisters. I recommend asking your local tennis shop/tennis coach what they recommend. Perhaps also re-evaluate the tennis grip size/stroke fundamentals with a good coach.

Some people just have sensitive hands, so they may need a thin bandage in that area, or possibly a “tennis glove”.

Gary Caron • I had one student who suffered from blisters and we found that using rubbing alcohol worked to harden or dry out the area where it blistered so he would use nightly and then did not have any issues. He was a National Level Player and trained 2 -4 hours daily so it was becoming an issue until we tried that. Also agree with the comment about monitoring and changing overgrips as needed,.

and here is a thrad from the Tennis Warehouse Blog:


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