How to avoid and treat fin rubs and cuts

Bodyboarding
Fin rubs: protect your feet before paddling out | Photo: Shutterstock

Fin rubs can be painful and eventually force you to put an end to an unforgettable session or surf trip. Learn how to protect and treat your feet while wearing a pair of swim fins.

Symmetrical fins are less likely to rub. On the opposite side of the spectrum, asymmetrical fins will be more painful and require action and adequate protection.

If you're an active and regular bodyboarder or bodysurfer, you'll notice that fin rubs tend to appear on top of your foot, under the ankle, and on the knuckles of your toes.

Why? Because with the movement of the feet underwater, the natural gum rubber will constantly be moving up and down on your skin, causing friction and repetitive rubbing.

And you don't want rubbed feet while the waves are pumping and everyone is out having fun.

Prevention and Treatment

The first wise thing to do is to prevent it from happening. Apply blister bandages a few hours - or the night - before putting your fins on and paddling out.

If you feel slight discomfort after a couple of hours in the water, paddle in and get ready to treat your rub. Remember that major wounds start with a few minor rubs.

If you catch it early, you may solve the problem before it breaks the skin and becomes a cut, and resume surfing.

Sensitive skin may develop unwanted, dramatic rashes, agonizing rubs, and blisters.

Also, consider wearing a pair of thin neoprene socks, slippers, or even heel shields.

Some riders sew a neoprene patch in the area where they tend to get specific rubs or glue an adhesive bandage onto the skin.

Once you develop a fin cut, you need to look after it as quickly as possible:

  1. Clean the wound and the skin around it;
  2. Apply an antiseptic;
  3. Keep it covered up to avoid infections;
  4. Keep it as dry and as clean as possible;

Finally, think about trying a new pair of swim fins. Different designs, sizes, and core materials may adapt better to your skin and feet.

The Surfing Christmas Gift Guide for 2022 | Explore our Christmas gift ideas for surfers