July 29 2015
Find out how to treat and avoid this common injury that plagues runners.
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.
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).
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).
“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.