Blisters, cuts and bruises are the battle scars that exercise aficionados brandish with pride, but they do pose an annoying and painful problem that hinders workouts. Blisters tend to be the most recurring problem.
Blisters tend to form most frequently on warm and moist skin. Friction causes the two outermost layers of skin to graze against each other without breaking, and fluid seeps in between. Voila, a blister is formed! Blisters can also be caused when you stub your toe, but it’s a most frequent complaint for runners. What you need are some tips on avoiding blisters during workouts!
The first step is to invest in a proper set of running shoes. Ill-fitting shoes may be causing blisters to form because your feet are being pinched in odd places. The right pair of shoes should leave at least a thumb’s distance between your big toe and the front end of your shoe. Also, make sure your shoes aren’t too narrow at the top, because that would lead to blisters on the side of your big toe and pinkie. They shouldn’t be too shallow either. Shoes that give you proper arch support, and are flexible and should bend at the right angle.
Shop for shoes in the evening because the foot tends to swell throughout the day and is at its most bloated in the evening. A good way to check for a proper fit is to leave the laces hanging loose and walk around in the shoes, if they don’t come off it means they fit you well. Walk around the store in them - maybe jog a little if there is enough room. Wear them at home for a few days to detect problem areas. It’s a good idea to start off easy with an hour of exercise a day and gradually increase the time.
When buying socks try to get ones made of Polypropylene or another absorbent, synthetic material. Try to stay away from cotton and wool socks because they aren’t nearly as absorbent. Running causes feet to swell up too so you might want to take an extra, slightly larger pair of running shoes along just in case. Some runners like to layer their socks with a coat of foot powder in between, and so can you. Try this and see if it works for you.
Padded insoles help give feet great arch support but it becomes that much harder for feet to adapt to shoes that lack this support. Think of it as a limb in a cast. Even though the cast is supporting the limb, the limb is also weakened by this support and after the cast comes off it’ll take the limb a while to regain complete muscle range of motion and strength.
Foot powders help keep your feet dry and absorb some of the sweat and moisture. You could also invest in a foot antiperspirant, with aluminum chloride as an active ingredient. A layer of Vaseline over your feet before you slip them into socks would help the feet glide smoothly and ease the friction.
For large blisters, clean them with rubbing alcohol or soap and water, grab the edge with a pair of tweezers and cut the ‘roof’ off. Alternatively, pierce them with a sharp object like the edge of a pin. Drain the liquid, clean it with an alcohol swab or soap and water and keep dry for 24 hours. Wear flip flops. After 24 hours clean again and apply an antiseptic cream and a band aid.
Running is an excellent way to keep in shape and stay healthy. Taking these preventive measures you can easily avoid those nasty blisters and enjoy this wonderful sport to the max! However, please be sure to discuss any excessive or persistent blistering with your doctor. Safety first!