Why Do We Get Blisters?

Why do we get blisters

Above is a picture of my daughter practicing her guitar with her Grandad.  She’s always liked to sing, but over the past year I’ve been really surprised (and sometimes excited) to see her beginning to develop into a musician.  She’s currently taking guitar lessons and voice lessons, so she is thinking about music most days, and her favorite thing to sit on her Kindle and do is to listen to music.

As a course of all this practicing, singing and playing, Rose has started to get an occasional blister.  Instead of reacting to this like a normal person though, she very crazily says, “I can’t wait to show my guitar teacher and see what he says!”  Being proud of your blisters seems a little crazy to me, but apparently guitarists see it as a badge of pride.

Having occasional blisters also made Rose very curious as to how blisters develop.  We looked around a couple of medical websites because there wasn’t a clear explanation that we liked as we were Google searching for YouTube videos and reading material on the topic for children.

The gist of what we got was that friction is what causes most contact blisters.  What happens is that your foot or hand rubs up against something hard, and the skin the skin moves while the bone remains stationary.  Fluid collects between layers of skin and becomes a blister.

Since a blister from playing guitar and having some long practices is caused by friction, we decided it would be fun to watch a couple of friction videos.  These are our favorites:

Of course, this isn’t our first look at friction.  A couple of years ago, we did some work with friction using Supercharged Science, including a science experiment where we made our own hovercraft.

We’ve also done some hands-on work with friction and demonstrating how different conditions affect friction using toy race cars.

It was good, however, to go back and revisit these concepts and relate them to the practical example of Rose’s blister.


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