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
- 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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