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Banishing Blisters

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.