Let's face it, getting blisters on your feet is one of the most irritating injuries from running. Most runners have had at least one run or race destroyed because of a painful foot blister.
Detailed below are the side effects, causes, and tips on the best way to prevent and treat blisters.
3 Steps to Treating Blisters On My Feet From Running
1. Drain & Bandage it
2. Cover it
3. Clean and Protect it Regularly
Here are the products that I mention below with links so you can check pricing on Amazon.
- Apply before you put on shoes, to help prevent blisters and raw skin caused by rubbing
- Use daily for effective and long-lasting protection of toes and feet, even in demanding conditions
- Infused with Vitamin A and C to help soften skin and restore dry, chapped, and chafed feet.
- Helps minimize inflammation
- Keeps pores clog-free. Sweat escapes and lets the skin breathe. Footwear safe
- These waterproof blister pads provide an optimal healing environment for blisters and wounds, sealing out dirt, germs, and water and helping prevent the formation of scabs, which prolong healing and can cause scarring
- The unique hydrocolloid gel material of this adhesive bandage is designed for long-term wear, staying on for multiple days and through showers, and intended to be worn until they begin to detach
- From the #1 doctor-recommended bandage brand
- Soft cotton flannel padding can be cut to any size for relief of painful corns, calluses, and tender spots.
- Dr. Scholl's Moleskin Plus Roll Paddings Smooth cotton flannel padding protects feet from painful shoe friction.
- Cushions corns, calluses, and tender spots.
- Known worldwide for its effective cushioning properties, Moleskin Plus Roll is soft, cotton flannel padding that protects feet from painful shoe friction.
- Soft, smooth padding. Self-stick adhesive, cuts to size.
What Causes a Blister on your Foot?
The folks from drugs.com define blisters as a "bubble of fluid under the skin" These fluid-filled pockets are created when the mix of warmth, friction, and sweat irritate the surface of the skin. Blisters typically form on the toes, soles, and heels of the feet.
Furthermore, irritation seems to be the most prominent contributing factor for blisters, especially in runners. Put simply, irritation is caused mostly by excessive rubbing between your skin and an external object, namely your shoes or socks.
Considering this, here are three typical ways of how blisters form, all of which are easy fixes. Of course, there are other variables that can cause blisters while running, but I have found these three to be the main culprits.
- Shoes that don't fit well
- Socks that don't secure the skin
- Extremely sweaty feet
Even if you do everything correctly, it's totally possible to still get a blister while running, so try not to let it bother you. Just do your due diligence, make sure you take care of it, and then you'll be back in no time.
Let's look at the most common blister location for runners, the toes.
Why do I get Blisters Between my Toes ?
There is no doubt in my mind that the most annoying and irritating place to get a blister is between the toes.
Blisters between the toes (or the medical term is interdigital blisters) are similarly caused by the same issues that you would get foot blisters but because of the proximity of one toe to another and the natural shape/curl of your toes, these happen more often than not.
Some external factors contributing to this rubbing could also be shoes that are too big or too small, socks that bunch up or constrain your toes together, or excessive sweat causing extra wet rubbing between your toes.
The easiest fix is to purchase "toe socks" (# 3 on our Top 5 Socks to Prevent Blisters). Toe socks not your thing? Podiatrist Rebecca Rushton from blisterprevention.com.au also recommends toe wedges, silicone toe sleeves, and taping. All of which are viable options. They may be a little uncomfortable at first but after a few miles, it will start to feel natural.
If you have blisters in other common areas like the balls of your feet, or heel, then you can try to use adhesive blister paddings to reduce the rubbing/friction that is being caused.
The 3 Steps to Treating Blisters on Feet from Running
1. Drain & Bandage it
When blisters do occur most would recommend not running at all and let it heal. This is mainly because the pain can cause you to alter your gait-cycle and stress other muscles/tendons unevenly. In some cases, it can also open up and become infected.
The first step is to slightly poke a tiny hole in the blister with a sterile object to drain any fluid from it. Once blisters pop, this will allow the fluid to come out. You may have to put pressure on it to get the fluid going. Once the fluid has fully drained be sure to clean the area with antiseptic ointment/cream. Once cleaned, cover it with a bandage.
If your blister is excessively red, colored discharge or irritation or sensitivity around the area be sure to contact your doctor. I really like the specific BLISTER Band-Aids. I've used these numerous times and they tend not to slip off of my feet when I run.
I also like how they cushion my blister without irritating it. Another item that I have used in the past is the Compeed Advanced Blister Care Bandage, which feels about the same quality.
2. Cover it
Once the painful blister has started to heal (normally takes a couple of days) be sure to wear dry, well-fitting socks. You might get the urge to wear the thicker cotton socks thinking that the extra thickness would serve as padding. However, this is actually counterintuitive.
The thicker cotton socks hold moisture and create friction which adds to the formation of blisters.
3. Clean and Protect it Regularly
Although it is easy to follow steps 1 and 2, this is the step that makes the biggest difference. The better you take care of your drained blister, the quicker it will fully recover.
Try to clean and reapply a new bandage to your blister twice a day for at least 3 days. Once you have gotten there, you can reevaluate your blister and go from there. If it is all good then you should be home free, if it is still healing, then repeat for as many days as it takes to fully recover.
These steps follow in line with the recommendations of the American Academy of Dermatology Association. For more information, you can check them out too!
Blister Relief For Runners
So you have drained the blister, cleaned the area, and bandaged it up. What are other ways to seek relief?
I have used the padding rolls that you would put on a blister. Sometimes when I run I find that I get blisters in the same exact spot over and over again regardless of what socks I wear. So these Dr. Scholl's Padding Rolls work really well. The cushion for the area that creates friction or rubbing and reduces the risk of additional blisters from forming.
It goes on like deodorant for your feet and it keeps your feet cool and dry. Honestly, you could just get the regular Body Glide balm as well because it will work just as well and you might have an easier time using it for other parts of your body too!
Toe socks have started to become extremely popular within many running circles. They separate your toes so that it removes the friction and removes the chance of developing blisters between your toes.
This movement has happened mostly among ultra runners and hikers, but it is slowly trickling down to the road running community as well. Here are the five best toe socks that we have tested
How to Prevent Blisters When Running
Preventing blisters is easy as long as you are aware of the main reasons why the are created. The easiest way to reduce your risk of developing blisters or preventing them in the first place while you run is by ensuring your foot fits comfortably inside your running shoes. Too little or too much space allows your feet to foot's rub against the side of the shoe.
1. Wear Proper Shoes: the first step in preventing blisters is to make sure that you wear shoes that fit your feet properly and provide enough cushioning and support. Ensure the upper portion of the shoe is snug so that it doesn't rub against your skin, but not too tight to cause discomfort.
2. Wear Quality Moisture Wicking Socks: Choose quality running socks made from breathable fabrics can prevent blisters – they will help wick away moisture and reduce friction. Also make sure to replace your socks often as dirt, sweat and grime can accumulate quickly. Here are my favorite blister preventing moisture-wicking socks.
3. Lubricate Your Feet: Before heading out on a run, apply lubricants such as Vaseline or Sportslick onto any problem areas where blisters may form before starting off – it provides a protective barrier between your skin and the shoe. The Body Glide mentioned above is a good option.
4. Pace Yourself: The faster you run, the more likely it is for blisters to form due to increased friction on your feet. So if you’re just starting out or have been slacking off in training, start off slowly and gradually increase your speed as you get used to the new level of activity.
5. Take Breaks: Taking regular breaks while running will help reduce friction and give your feet a chance to recover from any existing blisters that may have formed while running. This could be anything from a few minutes of walking or jogging at a slower pace, depending on how far you plan on going.
6. Trim Your Toenails: An easy way to prevent blisters from forming is to make sure to trim your toenails regularly so that they don’t scratch or rub against the inside of your shoes. This can lead to irritation which could further increase the chances of blisters forming.
7. Change Shoes Regularly: If you run regularly, it is recommended to change your running shoes every 300-400 miles as they provide less cushioning and support over time.
Having a well-fitted pair of shoes will also help reduce friction during runs and keep blisters at bay. It is important to have a few extra pairs of running shoes as rotating them has proven to eliminate painful blisters.
8. Treat Existing Blisters Early: Most blisters get worse the longer they go untreated. It is important to treat existing blisters early before they get worse – apply clean bandages and keep them covered until healed completely. Avoid popping them as they could become infected and cause further complications.
9. Keep Feet Clean and Dry: Make sure to keep your feet clean and dry before running by washing them with soap and drying them thoroughly – this will help reduce the chances of bacterial infections in case a blister does form. Additionally, make use of antiperspirants for additional protection against moisture buildup that could lead to blisters.
I hope these tips and recommendations help you keep blisters from forming or treat them so that you can get out and run pain-free
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.