How to Prevent Blisters When Running
Blisters, be gone. Learn why they happen, ways to treat them and most importantly, how to prevent blisters from happening on a run.
Why Am I Getting Blisters?
In running, friction is the quickest route to discomfort. A blister is the buildup of fluid under the skin from friction, which causes pressure and pain on your feet — a runner’s worst nightmare. Similar to experiencing chafing on your body, a blister will form on your feet in no time from your socks or shoes rubbing your skin with every step.
How Do I Prevent Them?
Blisters are pesky, painful, and take a while to heal. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to avoid getting blisters while running in the first place.
1. It starts with the socks
Cotton is your enemy because it holds moisture in. Wear synthetic, sweat-wicking socks made for exercise, which are often designed with compression around the arch and cushioning around your heels and ball of your foot for added comfort. They should fit your foot without excess fabric or seams that rub your skin.
2. Check your shoes
If your shoes are too small, they will rub on your heel and constrict your toes. Shoes with a sock-like fit will hug your foot comfortably to avoid rubbing while supporting your foot with each step. Find your correct shoe size and be sure to break in your new shoes to get your feet used to them before committing to a long-distance run.
3. Invest in insoles
If you like the shoe but are still having trouble with blisters, a gel or foam insert could help. Not only will it be softer for your toes and supportive for your arch, but it can also lift your foot slightly higher to avoid rubbing on the back of your heel.
4. Moisturize your skin
Wet socks are bad, but overly dry skin is also a quick way to get a blister. Moisturize your skin every night before bed with a thick foot cream. You can also apply an athletic lubricant to your foot before your run to reduce the friction.
Already Have a Blister? Here’s How You Treat It
When you head out for a long-distance run, it’s a good idea to keep some bandages, moleskin and lubricant in your running belt. If you feel any chafing start, pause to readjust, and rub some lubricant on your foot to help your skin glide. If a blister forms, either place a bandage or a moleskin ring over it, and if you’re in a race you can stop at a medical tent for treatment.
Once you’re home, keep the area clean and avoid wearing shoes that will irritate it. The best course of action is usually to leave it alone and it will go away in a few days. You can keep running as long as you protect it with the steps above to keep it from getting worse or happening again. If the swelling, pain or redness persists, you may want to visit a doctor to treat possible infection.
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