Injury Archives: Blisters
In Volume One, 1999, we mentioned a Runner's World report on a
group of military school cadets who used a roll-on antiperspirant
on their feet to prevent blisters. This story has resurfaced in
the American Running and Fitness Association's June 1999 "Running
& FitNews." The group who used the antiperspirant did get many fewer
blisters but they also had a lot more skin irritation. The authors
suggest experimenting on a long training run before you use it in
a race. (Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 1998, Vol.
39, No. 2, pp. 202-206).
ARFA also offers some suggestions on how to avoid blisters (from
Catherine Fieseler, M.D., an ultra runner from the Cleveland Clinic
Foundation, in a report to the American Medical Athletic Association
Sports Medicine Symposium at the Marine Corps Marathon in October):
- Work up some good calluses. Skin can adapt to repeated friction.
As you log in your miles, your skin is adapting along with your
muscles, bones, heart, and lungs. Keep calluses soft with lotions.
- Get good shoes with a good fit. There should be a thumb's width
between the end of the shoe and the tip of the longest toe.
- Wear synthetic socks with good wicking properties.
- Don't use drying powders. Wet talcum powder increases friction.
- Don't use lubricants for long distances. They may decrease friction
initially, but after about an hour friction increases significantly.
- Use orthotics if needed to improve foot mechanics. Well-fitted
orthotics reduce movement by keeping the foot in a neutral position.
- Experiment with lacing techniques to reduce rubbing.
- Neoprene insoles may help reduce friction. * Stay well-hydrated,
but don't run low on sodium. Hyponatremia causes swelling, making
feet more vulnerable.
- Taping can reduce friction by creating a barrier. Tape to protect
spots where blisters and irritation have already occurred. Use
duct tape (really), Elastikon, 3-M's Medipore, or 3-M's Microfoam.
Reprinted by permission from American Running and Fitness Association's
Running & FitNews, June 1999, page 3, email@example.com
Here is the Mayo Clinic's suggestions for blister care and treatment
(from Total Wellness, June, 1999, Volume VII, Number 6, page 5):
If it is small and "intact," just cover it with a bandage until
the new skin has grown over it. If it is painful but still "intact,"
use clean hands and use alcohol to sterilize both the blister and
the pin. Make several little holes around the edges and let it drain.
Leave the skin on there. Cover it with an antibiotic ointment and
a bandage. In a few days, you should be able to use tweezers to
lift the dead skin and cut it away with clean scissors. Clean it
and cover it again with antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Be sure
to watch for any infection.
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