Runners take note: THIS is how you deal with blisters

Image via Thinkstock.

There is nothing quite as annoying as that feeling of a blister surfacing. The chances are if you can already feel it, it has definitely developed into a nice bubble. Most frequently, blisters are your skin’s reaction and defence mechanism against friction or rubbing in your shoe.

3 common causes of blisters

1. New footwear that hasn’t been ‘broken in’ yet.

2. Footwear that is too small, especially for women, whose shoes tend to have more of a narrow forefoot and depth at the toe.

3. Too much callous that hasn’t been removed; whether it is around the back of your heels, your little toes or under the ball of your foot. When you don’t have the callous removed it can increase the chances of you developing a blister or worse, a corn.

Less common reasons; sunburn, heat, underlying medical conditions etc.

What to do when you have a blister

Blisters can be as frustrating as pimples when you just want to pop them. If possible, DON’T pop your blister. Whilst the sac of fluid is really tempting to drain, the skin covering it acts as a protection from infection. As soon as that skin is broken you are exposed to many different bacteria that can lead to infection or more serious long-term issues (especially if you have diabetes).

The best thing you can do in this situation is to clean the area with mild soapy water or even soak it with warm salty water, apply an antibacterial cream and then cover the blister with gauze and hypoallergenic tape to prevent infection. Redress the blister every day and  don’t wear the perpetrating shoes again until it has completely healed. A blister usually heals well without you needing to see a doctor or podiatrist.

Buying shoes that fit is usually a good way to prevent blisters in the first place... Via

If you HAVE to pop your blister...

If you can’t resist the temptation follow these steps:

1. Make sure you have washed your hands thoroughly.

2. Wash the blister and surrounding area with either warm water and soap or better yet an antiseptic solution.


3. Sterilise the needle or pin you are using with an alcohol wipe. Avoid using anything rusty or unsterilised.

4. Pierce the blister once or twice. Do not go too deep and try to stay closer to the edge. Soak up the blister fluid with a clean gauze or cotton pad.

5. Apply an antiseptic ointment followed by a plaster or gauze with medical tape and leave in place.

6. Check the blister every second day or every day until it is healed and reapply antiseptic ointment and a fresh plaster each time. Avoid picking the top layer off and let it come off of its own accord.

If your blister is deep, bloody or you are concerned about it, it is best if you consult a podiatrist where they have sterile tools and the right equipment to look after it, with the least amount of pain.

One thing to note though, if you have diabetes, never pop your blisters.  If your blister has already popped follow steps 5 and 6 until it has healed, or you can see a specialist.

4 ways to avoid blisters

1. Break in new shoes gradually over a few weeks before going for a long run.

2. Keep dried skin build-up to a minimum.

3. Apply moleskin or suede patches to the inside of your shoes before wearing them. This provides cushioning while you break them in.

4. Band-aid up your little toes and heels before a big run or a long session in heels. Donut pads or blister patches like those made by Compeed are particularly useful at taking off some of the pressure.

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