Blisters: Cause and Treatment

Blisters are quite common to runners. When I started running a runner told they are the price we pay for running. Blisters develop when there is friction and irritation to the surface layer of the skin and cause it to seperate from the second layer. Fluid fills in the space between these two layers.

The fluid is called serum, the water component of blood.

What causes Foot Blisters?

  • Heat: is the number one reason for getting Blisters. The heat responsible for causing Blisters is mostly caused by the friction between your skin and the inner of your running shoe.

  • Moisture: moist or wet feet from sweat or water are more susceptible to Blisters as moisture softens your skin.

  • Sand and gravel in your running shoe can increase friction and cause you Blisters.

Prevention of Blisters
To prevent blisters, the goal is to minimize friction. Some basic preventive measure can go along way to avoid the two causes of heat and moisture.

To minimise heat is not easy for a straineous activity like marathon running. Your feet are pounding the tarmarc and in the process your shoes get hot. In addition to the pounding your shoes are closed this means heat is trapped inside the shoe. The only option you have is to avoid wearing a tight fitting shoe. A tight fitting shoe squeezes your toes increasing friction. No shoe company has yet invented an open shoe for marathon running but there are running shoe made with covering material that allows circulation of air giving your feet a cooling effect. You dont feel it during running but it works.

When marathon running, avoid stepping into water.

Right Type of Running Socks

Dont wear socks made of cotton. Cotton soaks and retains sweat that creates dangerous moisture. I personally use socks made of nylon. Synthetic material absorbs sweat and dries up fast.

Treatment of blisters.

When I get a blister I dont pierce it but leave it to dry by itself. But if your blister is too big you can pierce it and drain the water for quick healing.

First clean the blister with antiseptic or antibiotic soap and water. Then sterilize a needle over a flame until the tip glows red; allow it to cool, and the puncture a small hole at the edge of the blister. Drain the fluid by applying gentle pressure. Put a bit of antibiotic ointment on the blister and cover with a bandage. Dont remove the top layer because leaving it open will lead to infection.

Happy Running!


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  1. Pingback: Blood Blister: Cause Prevention and Treatment

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