Blisters are the bane of any runner’s life, and any avid runner has usually tried everything – shoes, socks, powders, gels, tapes. But what really works, and how are blisters best managed? With a bit of expert knowledge about skin, we have some tips for you.
What is a blister?
You may think you know the answer to this, but understanding the common garden-variety blister is key to understanding how to prevent blisters. The bubble or bump starts when there is friction against your foot, which actually causes the outer layers of skin to rub against each other, then separate, then fill with fluid.
Classic causes of this is poorly-fitting running shoes or wet feet due to non-absorbent socks.
What to do with a blister?
- Do not peel the skin off
- Do not just cover with a band-aid and hope for the best – infection can go awry quickly
- Avoid infection
- Stop doing the blistering activity until it heals
- Pop it!
How to prevent blisters – your how-to guide?
Get good socks
Socks have a key role to play in preventing blisters by keeping your feet dry, supporting your feet, and minimising friction. Cotton socks – bless ’em – are most likely to cause blisters, because they absorb moisture, eventually giving you wet feet. Nylon socks are best, allowing your foot to breathe. Wicking wool socks are runners’ favourites too, taking moisture away from the foot.
Wear two pairs of socks
Let the friction occur between the socks, and not between your skin layers.
Tape and/or bandage your feet
If there are spots on your feet that always blister, prepare in advance by using soft – but secure – bandages or tape before putting your socks on.
Powders and creams
Friction-preventing powders and creams can be really useful. Try them all, and find one that works for you. Vaseline can also work wonders.
Buy good shoes
Having your shoes fitted to your foot by an expert shoe person is the best way to get a shoe that fits you properly. Go to a shoe store that prides themselves on proper shoe fittings, and pay them the money. Just do it. (Ehem!)
Get your gait checked
If nothing is working to alleviate your blisters, maybe you have another issue in the way your skeleton is sitting inside your flesh, causing you to walk and run in a slightly peculiar way. Go to an osteopath or chiropractor for an assessment – they can easily spot where you’re wonky.
Need help with your skin?