I covered whether you should pop your blisters and how to treat them in the last quick question so let’s consider how to stop getting them in the first place. Can you stop blisters? What can you do to prevent blisters forming?
Some people rarely get blisters and others get them all the time. This can be due to a number of reasons including our genes which we’re just stuck with. They can be so annoying, painful and quite literally stop you being active once they form. It’s great know there are things you can do to reduce the chance of blisters forming.
Here are my top tips for preventing blisters:
- Get the right shoes! It’s crucial to have shoes that fit you properly. For running shoes this means going up at least half a size from your everyday shoe, most runners go up a full size or more. This allows your feet to spread and swell a little and also avoids your toes being too squished when you run downhill. If you are a woman with wide feet then you might be better with a men’s shoe because they have a wider toe box. Don’t forget you’ll often need to wear shoes in a bit too.
- Learn to lace. Depending on the style of your shoe and the shape of your foot, you can make fine adjustments by using different lacing techniques. Whether you’ve got a high instep, wide forefoot or problems with your big toe, how you lace your shoe can make all the difference. My book Sorted shows some has different lace patterns or you can search online.
- Socks are crucial. There’s no point in having the perfectly fitted and laced shoe and then squashing your feet into socks which are too small and made of the wrong fabric. Wearing double layers of socks can help but some people find those layers just cause more friction, personally I prefer a single layer sock. Damp feet and socks will cause even more blisters so opt for a technical fabric which wicks moisture from the skin and dries quickly. Some people swear by silk liners in their socks and merino wool is a favourite too.
- Don’t be too kind to your feet. Constantly exfoliating and moisturising your feet may not actually help. Yes. You’ll look wonderful in a pair of sandals but slightly ‘tougher skin’ may give you some protection. Some people use surgical spirit or alcohol to toughen up their skin but this can lead to cracking and fissuring of the skin which is painful so is best avoided.
- Try barriers. Experiment with using something like petroleum jelly or lanolin before you exercise. Rubbed on problem areas this may offer some protection against blisters. Long distance runners often use this trick. I used to do it before marathons but was still getting blisters. Once I stopped using it I didn’t get blisters, I think it was just making my toes slide around against each other and cause more friction! I never did it in training so I’m not sure why I thought I should on race day. Similarly some people apply talc so soak up excess moisture. Applying plasters or padding to areas you know might blister is something you can try but they often fall off and you end up having to take off you sock and shoe to retrieve the dressing! You might have more luck with blister tape which is designed specifically for the job.
I’d love to know your top tips for preventing blisters. Do leave a comment below or on social media.
There are more answers to questions like these and lots of health information to help you lead a happy and active life in my book Sorted: The Active Woman’s Guide to Health.
Disclaimer: I can’t give personal medical advice and as always with health advice, reading something online doesn’t replace seeing your doctor who knows your medical history and can assess you in person. So, if you are unsure then always seek the opinion of a health care professional.
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