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3 Tips That Can Help You Banish Blisters For Good

Why do you suffer from painful blisters when your running buddy can go for miles without a pinch? Some people are simply prone to them, says Dr. Lee Cohen, a New Jersey sports medicine podiatrist, and it most often comes down to the shape of your feet.

But even if your tootsies are naturally blister-prone, you can still take steps to make them blister-proof. For starters, ensure your shoes fit well and be sure to mix up your training gradually—don’t go from running on a completely flat treadmill to tackling hills outside.

Cohen notes that it’s important to hydrate your feet inside and out. Drink plenty of H2O and moisturize regularly with a foot cream. When you do head out for a run, take these three simple steps to avoid painful sores that slow you down when you’d prefer to be hitting your stride.

Tip #1

Cohen says you need to decide: “Am I a sweater or not?” If you tend to perspire, use a powder (Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder, $10 for 10 oz., drugstore.com). If your dogs stay dry, swipe a stick on trigger zones (Dr. Scholl’s Blister Defense Stick, $7, drugstore.com).

Tip #2

Some products you use to help blisters heal can help prevent them before they occur. If you have a hot spot that often gets tender, add a layer of protection. A liquid or spray provides a coating (New-Skin Liquid Bandage, $7, walgreens.com) and a fabric bandage creates a plastic shield (Band-Aid Advanced Healing Blister for Fingers & Toes, $4, drugstore.com).

Tip #3

“Friction and sheer forces cause blisters,” explains Cohen. He recommends seamless, fitted synthetic socks (SockGuy Channel Air, $12, sockguy.com) and forget the theory of doubling up—one pair should do the trick.

Ouch, I got a blister!

Dr. Cohen says do as little as possible: “You don’t want the roof to come off!” If you need to pop it, sterilize a needle with alcohol first, and leave as much of the skin intact as you can, so it will heal more quickly. Then use a liquid bandage (warning: it will burn!) and cover with a fabric bandage.

Nicki Miller

Nicki Miller is the managing editor for Women's Running and spearheads our nutrition coverage. She’s an avid runner but also loves cycling (both on and off-road), yoga and all kinds of crazy videos to do at home. Formerly the editor of Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, Nicki started her journalism career at The Washington Post. Her first races were duathlons (run, bike, run) in her twenties with her husband, and then triathlons, completing the White Lake Half Ironman in North Carolina. Since joining Women’s Running in 2013, she’s been more focused on half marathons and trail running. Some of her proudest moments have been running the Boston Marathon (first 26.2), and becoming an RRCA certified running coach and helping others take up the sport.