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How to prevent blisters

June 6, 2016


Itís sandal season and running season, which means blisters are back in full force.

But there are ways that your feet and your shoes can get along, even if itís the first day that youíre wearing new footwear, said Marlene Reid, podiatric physician and surgeon at the Family Podiatry Center of Naperville, Ill.

"Prevention is the key when it comes to blisters," Reid said.

Skip the Band-Aids, and put some moleskin pads in your shoe where the potential irritation will occur, Reid said.

"It is better to put the moleskin on the shoe as opposed to the foot, and the moleskin should extend beyond the area of concern," she said, explaining that if you put it on your foot, it may slide off the skin.

There are also silicone products that can be used on the skin to help disperse pressure. These are good to keep on hand for emergency blisters for runners, walkers or anyone wearing heels to a party, Reid said.

If youíre getting blisters regularly from running, then try using paper (surgical) tape, said Doug Richie, a podiatrist with the Seal Beach Podiatry Group in California.

Standard 1-inch paper tape (3M Micropore Paper Tape, $3.97 at Amazon.com) should be applied in one smooth layer over the anticipated blister area.

A study published in the Clinical Journal in Sport Medicine found that paper tape is the least expensive and most effective option for preventing blisters. It reduced blisters by 40 percent at the end of a 155-mile ultramarathon, the study found.

You could better those odds by making sure your feet are always dry, as moisture leads to blisters.

"Vaseline, mineral oil and other skin lubricants should be avoided," he said.

Since feet sweat so often, Richie suggests that runners put on a fresh, dry pair of socks right before race time because feet begin sweating early on race day due to nervous anxiety.

The type of socks you wear are also important.

Cotton fiber socks should be abandoned in favor of synthetic fiber socks such as Coolmax or polypropylene, Richie said. In cooler climates, wool fiber socks are sometimes superior because wool absorbs up to 30 percent of its weight in water, keeping your feet dry in almost any conditions.

 

 


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