Running With Blisters

Running With Blisters

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    Blisters are a common problem amongst runners and can often be very disabling. Blisters are caused by friction between the skin and surrounding structure, causing the body to produce a fluid build-up underneath the skin.

    Causes of blisters include:

    • Poorly fitted shoes
    • Moisture caused by sweat
    • Chafing socks
    • Overtraining
    • Faulty biomechanics such as overpronation

    When buying running shoes it is wise to do so midday when feet are naturally swollen. A running shoe should always be slightly bigger in size than a normal everyday shoe. Feet swell when you run, and therefore space is needed to prevent chafing from occurring.

    How to prevent a blister from forming:

    • Seamless and synthetic socks will absorb excess moisture from sweating which will decrease the friction.
    • Wearing double-layered socks is of great help because the movement then occurs between the sock layers, instead of between the skin and the sock.
    • Keep feet as dry as possible by using powder or changing socks regularly.
    • Blisters forming on the inside of the foot can indicate excessive pronation when running. Foot, knee and hip muscles can be strengthened to prevent this from happening.
    • Ask a professional when buying shoes to ensure running with shoes that fit your running style.
    • If, however, a blister has already formed avoid popping it at all cost. This will prevent an open wound from forming as the skin acts as a protective layer.  The body will absorb the fluid underneath the skin once the friction decreases.

    Happy blister-free running!

    Article by Lené van Heerden (Physiotherapist)
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    Lené van Heerden
    As a physiotherapist Lené works with people in all walks of life, taking part in almost any and every type of physical activity. More often than not they find themselves in more pain than what you can ever imagine. Working with these people energizes her, but it is also poses a great challenge. Through this she has learnt a lot about the prevention and management of injuries. Lené will be providing trail runners with valuable tips and techniques to avoid injuries and to enhance their performance on the trails! Trail Running is my ticket to switching off my phone, getting dirty and experiencing nature the way it was intended.

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