What is the best cure for a blister? That is a simple answer, don't get one in the first place! Yes, the best cure for a blister is to prevent it.
A blister is simply a friction burn caused by repeated rubbing against the skin. Once you have one, there isn't a great deal you can do other than protect the area and allow it to heal.
What many runners don’t realise though is that most blisters are entirely preventable. Here are my five tips for preventing blisters:
Watch for early warning signs
Check your feet after a long run. If you notice any red or sore spots, particularly at the back of your heel, instep or between your toes then you could be well on the way to suffering a blister.
A red area is called a hot spot and is often the precursor of a blister. If you notice one then take action now to prevent it developing.
Tape your feet
If you notice a hot spot, or you want to mitigate the risk of blisters on a long run then tape your feet. This tried and tested method used by infantry soldiers everywhere is highly effective.
All you need is a small roll of zinc oxide tape. Make sure your foot is clean and dry. Then apply strips of tape around the back of your heel, instep and between your toes. Ensure there are no creases in the tape. The brown ‘premium’ 3.8mm zinc oxide tape is best as it is stronger and sticks for longer.
If you want to take skin protection to the next level, then apply a specialist blister plaster. Once these are secure then they should stay on for many hours, even if your feet get wet. Again make sure your feet are dry before applying. Another top tip is to warm the blister plaster up for a couple of minutes first but holding it tightly between your palms. This helps it stick to the skin better.
Keep your feet dry
One guaranteed way to get a blister is to get your feet soaking wet and run. Wet socks and shoes rub against the skin more, increasing friction. So if you are on a very long run, for example over mountains then change your socks regularly, dry your feet and use foot powder.
Check your footwear
This is probably too obvious to mention but make sure you have the correct running shoes for your style and they fit properly. Wear new shoes around the house for a bit first before doing any long runs. Or ease a new pair into your schedule gradually.
Don’t forget to change your running shoes regularly. They should last 6 months or 500 miles. Never put leather walking boots on radiators to dry. The leather shrinks and the seams will protrude into your foot.
Wear the right socks
Often overlooked, wearing the right socks is important. This comes down to personal preference and experience. Some people prefer a single layer loop stitched sock, others swear by double skin socks such as the HILLY running sock.
A double layer sock means that as you run, the inner and outer layer of the sock rub against each other rather than your skin. As a result, your risk of sustaining blisters reduces.
Author: Mike Walden
Some product recommendations:
Best products for preventing blisters: https://www.upmedical.co.uk/collections/best-products-for-blisters
Hilly Running Socks: https://www.ronhill.com/pages/hilly