Enjoy a blissful run – not a blister-run – with these tips on blister prevention and first-aid for runners.
Simple steps for runners to prevent and treat blisters
Blisters are like the proverbial fly on the wall: tiny, but really annoying! These small yet irritating visitors are caused by friction created when your skin rubs against your socks or shoes. The body then produces a liquid beneath the skin to protect the affected area. But do not fret! There are ways to prevent and treat these tiny nuisances so you can continue running pain-free.
How can I prevent blisters as a runner?
There are generally two main causes of blisters:
- Wet feet
Keep the blisters at bay with these simple steps:
Choose socks and shoes that fit: wear ergonomic socks along with a pair of running shoes that leave about a thumbs-width of space between your toes and the shoe’s toe box. Make sure that your entire foot and all your toes have enough space.
Sock material makes a difference: cotton is wonderful and light, but when it comes to running it retains sweat and other fluids. Synthetic materials or wool-blends wick away the moisture from your body to aid blister prevention.
Moisturise, powder, protect: coat your feet with petroleum jelly, a lubricant or absorbing powder before longer runs. Padded tapes and bandages on susceptible areas are also a great option for creating a protective shield between your skin and sock.
You've got a blister. What now?
If the blister shows signs of infection or is located in a difficult area (under the toenail for example), it’s best to get treatment from a professional. Otherwise, here’s how to treat blisters on your own.
If your uninvited guest (the blister) is neither painful nor preventing you from walking, you can simply leave it and apply a blister adhesive to cushion any impact or friction. Small blisters will often heal on their own. However, if you’re experiencing discomfort, follow the steps below.
Large blisters need to be drained. To do this, wash your hands with soap, sterilise a needle with rubbing alcohol, puncture the blister in a few different locations and push out the liquid with your fingers. When the blister is drained, you can apply a bandage to prevent bacteria from getting in. Make sure to air it as often as possible.
Enjoy blister-free runs!
Next time a blister crops up, it is sure to be in good hands (yours!). Or better still: follow these preventative steps and remain blister-free during your runs!