Blisters! EEK! Probably one of the things runner hate most! Have you ever ran with blisters on your feet? I know I have and it would really irritate me and cause me to stop running all because of a tiny little bubble on my foot.
Blisters on feet are a common problem caused by friction from shoes or clothing which rubs repeatedly on the skin. The faster you run with your hot sweaty socks rubbing against your feet, the bigger and more painful that blister will become. The body responds to the friction by producing fluid, which builds up beneath the part of the skin being rubbed, causing pressure and pain. Also a blood blister can occur when the friction ruptures tiny blood vessels. Most blisters don’t pose a serious health risk, although they should be treated with caution. A painful blister can definitely hurt a runner’s performance, but more importantly, a blister can also get infected. Serious infections can result when one uses a dirty needle to pop a blister.
- Improper shoes
- non-moisture wicking socks
- very sweaty feet
- running through water/mud
- constant rubbing of socks/shoes on your foot for long periods of time, such as a marathon
- foot abnormalities
- Make sure you are wearing proper shoes. Ensure that shoes fit correctly. Poorly fitting shoes that are either too tight or too big will increase rubbing or friction on the foot and toes.
- Moisten your feet. Just like sweaty skin, dry skin is also more prone to friction. Use skin creams and lotions liberally on a daily basis to maintain proper moisture.
- Introduce new running shoes gradually. Sometimes it takes a couple of runs for your feet to adjust to a new pair of running shoes.
- Use petroleum jelly on areas prone to blisters. This helps the material glide over the skin, reducing friction.
- Choose blister-free socks.Some people prefer wearing socks with a double layer. The second layer stops the first one from rubbing against the skin. Others prefer a single layer loop stitched sock as less heat is generated. I swear by Feetures! They keep me blister free when I would get them during long runs.
Most small blisters should be left alone and they will usually heal fine on their own. But if you get a blister on a long run here are a few things you can do to ease the pain:
- Apply a second skin dressing or blister plaster and tape the affected area.
- Ensure the feet are dry and change socks (of course if you are in the middle of a race then do it after)
- If you have a large blister, drain it. If you don’t drain it, your blister will hurt, and it could puncture on its own. To drain the blister, wash your hands, then wipe a needle with alcohol to sterilize it. Once you’ve punctured the blister, carefully drain the liquid by pushing on it gently. Then put a tight bandage on it to keep it from getting an infection.
- Soak your foot in Epsom salts to draw out the fluid.(Directions on box)
- If you have a smaller blister, leave it alone!! If you try to pop it you can cause more damage and make it bleed causing more pain. For these small ones you can cut a hole the size of the blister in the middle of a piece of moleskin, place it over the blister and cover it. The blister will dry out and heal on its own.
- As far as blood blister, which appear red, purple in color, don’t pop them. That will be inviting bacteria directly into your blood stream.
Follow these steps to prevent a blister, if it’s too late maybe these treatment steps will help. If you can carry a little blister first aid kit on your runs, it could lower the chances of you getting a bad blister. When you are running you can feel when the skin starts to get irritated. If you have a little repair kit on you,then you can attend to the blister before it gets worse. Carry some Vaseline, a piece of moleskin, gauze, sanitizer, and tape, and when you see the area red, you know a blister is on its way. Prevent it before it gets worse. Make sure you keep the blister CLEAN once you pop it. It can become infected very easily. Try to keep as much of the skin from the blister on it.