Blisters are the most common form of running injury and are caused by friction or a moist foot or a combination of both.
This causes a separation between epidermis and dermis (layers of the skin) fluid then enters the gap but then causes pressure resulting in a blister. If you continue running this then develops into a blood blister which can then cause problems.
During a race we perspire more and pour water over our bodies.
This water flows down the legs and into our shoes which can cause small puddles around the toes so starts of blisters.
Wet feet and sand cause the worse type of blisters.
Prevention is better than cure
Suddenly increasing intensity or volume or both can bring on blisters
Running shoes – they should not impinge on your toes from the side or top.
Socks that wick moisture away. – If you use them all the time in training then you can actually encourage blisters during a competition so do not wear them all the time.
Run socks that have various features that are shaped for your like left and right foot, have padding in toes and heals and have support in the mid part of the foot help. Avoid fancy coloured socks not designed for running.
Go to a running shop with a good selection.
Check feet for long toes nails calluses etc
How to prevent blisters
Use a drying agent like surgical spirit Methylated spirit each night before bed time –dab a small amount on your feet just before getting into bed with cotton wool, let the spirit evaporate before getting into bed. Never do this if you have a blister.
Keep feet dry
Socks that wick moisture away from the foot. Avoid cotton socks after you have done all your base miles
What to do once you get a blister?
Firstly not all blisters are the same. It all depends on the size of the lesion how it happened.
If the blister is not leaking or weeping then it is technically a sterile lesion so you should not pierce it.
A large prominent blister on the heal or the bottom of the foot or on a weight bearing area then you should not leave it ignore it but treat it.
You need to lance the blister with a clean sterile needle making sure your hands are clean or you are then squeeze and remove the fluid but keeping the roof or middle part of the blister intact to effectively speed up the healing process.
Straight after removing fluid apply a sterile dressing securely. Blood blisters have a greater risk of infection especially during multi stage running events and also training.
Warning signs of inflammation include heat redness swelling and pain that does not get nay better, sometimes it can get worse.
Mark has competed in more than 1,000 competitions world wide, run more than 51,000 miles & coached athletes of all ages and abilties from 17 to 76 years young to successfully run the mile to the marathon Des Sables so few in the world have more expereince answer this question than Mark.
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