Before You Get A Blister

Take Steps to Prevent Foot Blisters

Bandaged Blister
Bandaged Blister. stocknshares/E+/Getty Images

Blisters are the curse of walkers and runners. You may not get blisters at all because your feet are used to your usual mileage and the hills and inclines you usually face. But if you change to a different shoe switch from the treadmill to outdoor workouts, or start training for long distances such as the half-marathon or marathon, you may suddenly join the blister club.

You can prevent blisters and treat them properly when they develop to prevent further damage. There are two factors you can address. The first is to reduce friction, which will injure the skin. The second is to keep your feet dry because wet skin is more prone to being injured by friction. Here are proven techniques and products to keep your feet intact or to help them heal and quench the pain.

Lubrication to Prevent Foot Blisters

Blisters develop where rubbing from shoes and socks tears the skin. By lubricating your feet you can reduce the friction and prevent blisters. Simple anti-blister lubricants include petroleum jelly, liquid silicone, powdered silicone, and non-petroleum waxes and creams. Lubricate your feet before you put on your socks. If you are doing longer miles, you might stop after 6 miles and apply more lubricant. There are many lubricants that have been developed for walking and running. You can find these at running shoe stores and some are available in the foot care section of a pharmacy.

Keep Your Feet Dry to Prevent Blisters

Wet skin is easier to tear, which leads to developing a blister. You need to wick sweat away from your feet and keep your feet dry to prevent blisters. Some people sprinkle cornstarch in their socks as a way to keep their feet dry. As with lubricants, they stop every few miles and add more cornstarch. You can also try using antiperspirant on your feet so your feet will sweat less. Be sure to try this tactic only on a small area of skin at first in case your skin is sensitive to the antiperspirant. Athletic performance socks made of moisture-wicking fabric, not cotton, are important to keep the moisture away from your skin.

Cover Ups to Protect Blister-Prone Areas

If you always blister in the same place, you should tape it or cover it with a bandage or pad before you exercise. If you feel at hot spot or blister developing while you are exercising, you need to stop and protect that area with a bandage, blister pad, athletic tape, or other cover-up. There are many products that do this well. If you have developed a blister, a gel bandage can help protect it and promote healing. These bandages often stay in place better than the usual bandages and are less likely to come loose if you must continue your walk or run.

Blister Kits to Take With You

Be prepared. Before you head out on a long walk or run, take along a blister kit to be ready to cover up any hot spots or treat any blisters. You can find small kits ready-made online or at outdoor stores. You can also make one up yourself with a gel bandage, moleskin, antiseptic wipes, alcohol wipe, athletic tape, and small scissors. You can also find miniature containers of lubricants at running stores.

How to Treat a Blister

To prevent a hot spot on your foot from developing into a blister, you need to stop and put a cover-up over it as soon as you feel it. But if you go too far or a blister develops suddenly, there are simple steps to treat a blister. First, stop and clean the area with soap and water, if available. Cover the blister or construct a protective donut around it with adhesive foam "moleskin" pads. You should only drain a blister that is at risk of rupturing, and you should never drain a blister if you have a condition that increases your risk of infection such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or HIV.

Still Blistering? Maybe It's Your Shoes

Your shoes can be rubbing your feet wrong. Your toes need room to expand into as your feet will swell a full shoe size on a walk. You need to be fit correctly for athletic shoes. Too sloppy of a fit can also contribute to getting a blister, as your foot has more room to around. This is why it's important to get the right fit. It's worth a visit to the most serious running shoe store in your area to learn the shoe size that is right and try different models to find the one that fits you best.

Maybe It's Your Insoles

If you changed to a new insole or arch support, it could be the culprit that is causing blisters. Try your shoes with and without the inserts, insoles, or arch supports. Insoles can reduce the space in your shoe for your foot and toes, leading to blisters. On the other hand, you can have insoles custom heat-molded to your foot at some running shoe stores. These can provide a better footbed and reduce areas of friction that can lead to blisters.

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