A blog by runners. For runners.

Preventing and treating blisters

tips for treating and preventing blistersOf all the parts of the body at play during walking and jogging, the feet take the brunt of the burden. And no matter your foot strike, pronation, or shoe/sock choice, most of us get blisters from time to time. If not treated promptly and properly, blisters can become a much bigger issue in the long term. Here’s how to avoid and treat blisters before they ruin your run.

Blister basics
A blister happens when the outer layers of your skin rub and create friction. Fluid — usually clear, but occasionally blood-colored — builds up in the area between deeper skin layers and develops into the classic bubble. The more miles you run, the more susceptible you are to these pesky pains. If left alone, blisters will usually heal.

The problem? Runners run and walkers walk. And we re-aggravate the issue, creating more pain and, yes, blisters. If popped, bacteria can be introduced and cause infection.

Blister prevention

  1. Blisters can be mostly prevented by keeping your feet dry and cool on the run. And if you’ve ever had a crop of them pop up, you might be able to remember some things about the day that could be to blame.
  2. Socks are a great first line of defense. A nice sock in a tech fabric should do. Some people double up or wear special double-layer socks for extra protection. Other proactive things you can do include using foot powder (dry up moisture), body glides (like the kind you use for overall chafing), and even bandages/tape for especially prone areas.
  3. If blisters continue to bother you, your shoes might be to blame. Head to your local running shop to get fitted properly for running shoes. Perhaps you need a wider toe box or bigger size or vice versa. Whatever the issue, you should be able to get some relief.

Blister treatment
If you already have blisters or want some tips for fighting them, keep this stuff in mind:

  • Let small blisters be. If they are tiny, the will likely go away on their own, but you can cover them with bandages — specially designed or not — to cushion them from further damage.
  • If you are going to pop a blister, wash your hands first and clean the area with alcohol. The key is keeping bacteria at bay. Use a sterilized needle (heat it up or wash with more alcohol) and puncture, leaving the skin in tact. Then clean again and cover with a bandage.
  • If you notice any pain, warmth, itching, or oozing, see your doctor. These are all signs of infection, and it’s best to get it checked out before it advances.
  • If there’s blood in your blister, don’t fret. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything worse is going on. It more means there was pressure involved over a bony area on your foot. The care regimen is much the same. Still, if you have other issues — like bunions — that are regularly causing blood blisters, you may want to see your doctor.

Written by Ashley Marcin.