Yesterday a friend asked me if I knew anything about blister prevention. I was reminded of the most impressive blister I ever had a few years ago. I was tapering for a marathon and running my last 13 miler. My big toe hurt some kind of bad but I wasn’t about to stop or take my shoe off. When I was finally done, I took my shoe off and saw what had formed on my foot. It was the biggest, grossest, most impressive blister I had ever seen. Immediately I took a picture and sent it to Mario. It was that worthy. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to not really suffer from blisters but I did want to share some info on blister prevention.
Four major categories to combat blisters include lubricants, powders, hydration and taping. Interestingly, it has been found that rubbing moist skin produces more friction than rubbing either very wet or very dry skin. Lubricants help reduce friction by keeping skin-to-skin or skin-to-shoe areas wet and slick. Powders and antiperspirants reduce friction by keeping feet very dry.
Here is a list of the top 7 lubricants for blisters.
BlisterShield is a popular foot powder to help with blisters. Goldbond, talcum powder or cornstarch can also help.
Hydration is important for two reasons. First, if you over-hydrate and have too much sodium, your body will retain fluid which can make your feet swell. Second, if you underhydrate and lose too much sodium, fluid will be retained in your extremities (i.e. your feet).
If you are considering taping your feet, there are many different kinds of tape to choose from, with duct tape being quite the popular choice. Other options include Kinesio Tex Tape, Leukotape, Micropore, Elastikon, HypaFix, EnduraSports and EnduraFix. Here is a description of each tape as well as detailed instructions on how to properly tape your feet.
Of course you can’t forget the importance of socks in blister prevention. Moisture wicking socks should always be chosen over cotton socks. I always wear thin, single layer socks, but double layer socks can help with blister prevention as well. Double layer socks have an inner layer that moves against the outer layer, which lessens friction against your skin. Less rubbing equals less blisters. Fortunately, my Features! socks have done well for me and other than black toenails, my feet are holding up quite well (from a runner’s point of view).
If you like gross things, here is a video of of a runner from the Badwater Ultramarathon having a blister lanced on his big toe. It also has some tips on what to do after having this procedure done to help quicken recovery. Interesting, but still a little gross.
I no longer have the picture of my amazing blister so I can not share. Instead, I’ll share a picture of my sister and me from my cousin’s wedding this weekend. Congrats to the newlyweds, Dan and Kayley!!
Happy Trails and Happy Running,