Running: Blisters and Management

Blisters can ruin your event, read more about good management in my latest blog here:

Recently I ran a section of The Essex Way, which was a 13 mile trail route. The event was brilliant and well worth a run if you fancy it. but to my dismay after about 7 miles I felt a patch on my right foot. A Blister, I had to choose at the halfway point to carry on, knowing the blister would get bigger, my run form would suffer and it would affect my training next week... Or to quit early and avoid all of this. Obviously, I didn't do the sensible thing (otherwise this blog would be pointless, eh?) and kept on.
By the end I was running on the outside of my foot to avoid contact with the floor and the thing was filled with fluid. Ouchie.


So, lessons learnt -

S H O E S

I shouldn’t have worn the shoes that give me blisters in the first place! This was my own fault as I’d left my newer trainers in my gym locker on the Friday evening so used an old pair of trainers, so less cushioning and worn away soles meant the blister was most probably a biomechanical fault.

S O C K S

A personal preference but I cannot run without socks on. The feeling of bare flesh against the sole creeps me out but also for me creates a lot of sweat, this then rubs with the heat and the movement of running and not only gives me blisters but makes my feet and my trainers reek to high heaven. Saying that everyone is different and I’ve met many people who complete triathlons without socks on so your choice.

T A P E / C O V E R I N G S
I think this is a great idea and usually when running a trail route ill tape my heels so that they don’t rub or blister. My secret weapon is a cotton pad (used for makeup removal) cut in half for a half moon shape and then tape over with K Tape with an extra but either side for plenty of stick.

Others rave about Compeed. personally, I’ve never really got on with it and its always ended up a sticky ball floating around in my sock somewhere!
Taping around individual toes that rub against each other, or the top part of the toes that rubs against the roof of the trainer can help avoid any excess friction.

TO E N A I L S
I used to see a Podiatrist who did a great job looking after my feet when I ran long races or after a cross country season. His advice, which is till stick to today is:
- No nail varnish. Let your nails breathe
- Keep your toe nails short but not too short to risk ingrown nails
- They will get rubbed/stressed/go black/fall off but if it doesn't stop you running then hey, carry on!

P O P

To pop or not to pop? How many times have I been asked this?! Personally, if the fluid inside the blister is so large that it is painful, or it is pressing against other parts of your foot i.e. in between toes. Then pop that blister. If it’s not and its juts a build-up of friction then leave well alone and it will heal in its own time.

When you pop blisters, use a sterile sharp object. ( A safety pin is my go to), create an ‘entry’ hole and ‘exit’ hole so that fluid does get trapped inside a fold of blister and you create so much mess trying to squeeze it out.
Drain the fluid, clean the blister and then let the air get to it so it can heal.

R U N N I N G A G A I N
Unless you’re in a race, try not to run again for a couple of days, or at least until the blister is flat, starting to heal and no longer painful to weight bear on.

Happy running!