Someone emailed me the following experience: “After deciding to run a local half-marathon for charity, I was suddenly enthused with motivation for training to be able to run without needing to stop for breath and water every 5 minutes. I joined a gym, started swimming again and began running after work. That took care of my muscles, but I completely forgot about the blistering which can come with such a vigorous regime. I started getting them on my heels, my arches and the balls of my feet, as well as on the side of my little toe. My feet looked like they’d been strategically sacrificed in a brutal game of paintball.”
Of course these blisters had appeared as a result of the continuous friction against his feet and you have to know that even professional athletes can get them. As the layers of skin rub together, they can separate and fill with fluid, causing the painful squishy bump.
Luckily, there are ways to prevent blisters before they ruin your running feet and give you an excuse to sit on the sofa eating chips:
– Shoes: Choosing the right shoes for your feet is half the battle. An ill-fitting trainer will rub against your foot, causing blisters and exacerbating any existing sore spots. Visit a store that specializes in running shoes; they will also analyze your gait to help you find shoes that fit your running style.
– Socks: Good socks can help minimize friction, provide extra support and keep moisture away. Nylon socks allow your feet to breathe minimizing moisture build up. Avoid cotton socks as these soak up lots of moisture.
– Creams and powders: By applying products such as Blister Defense Stick from Dr. Scholl, 2 Toms Blistershield or even simply standard Vaseline, you can make your feet much less susceptible to friction.
– Bandages: If you have specific points on your feet which are known for blistering you should apply blister bandages such as Blist-O-Ban which stay in place even on sweaty feet and stop friction on your blister spots.
Popping a blister
If you already have a blister, treat it carefully, as an infected blister can cause pain, fill with puss and can even cause infections such as Secondary impetigo, Cellulitis or Sepsis.
Assuming your blister is small and uninfected you can either wait for the body to fully reabsorb the fluid or pop it. You must make sure that you use a sterile needle if you go down the popping route, so as to avoid infection.
1. Wash your hands thoroughly
2. Sterilize a small sharp needle or pin with either rubbing alcohol or by boiling it for 5 minutes
3. Swab the blister with Iodine or rubbing alcohol
4. Pierce the side of the blister several times around the edge
5. Apply tissue to soak up fluid
6. Rub with an antibiotic ointment, then cover with a bandage
7. After 2-3 days, cut and remove dead skin with sterilized scissors or tweezers
8. Rub antibiotic ointment onto the area and re-bandage
Lastly, if you have a personal trainer for running, don’t forget to take professional advice from him as he probably has loads of experience in dealing with this particular issue.