Saturday, June 11, 2011

Blisters: Treatment and Prevention

Here is the best way to get a blister to heal quickly;
First make sure the blister is clean.  Next, mix a half teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of water to make saline solution.  Make sure everything is clean.  Wet a piece of gauze that is big enough to cover the blister.  Use a water proof band-aid or medical or sports tape to fix the gauze over the blister.  Leave it there during your work day or overnight or some other period of time that isn’t longer than eight or nine hours in a row.  DO NOT tear off the skin that covers the blister.  This treatment does work well for situations when the skin is already torn, but you should avoid that if possible.  If you must drain some of the fluid, sterilize a needle and make a small hole and use gentle pressure to drain most of the fluid.  Leaving a little fluid is good.  Your body put it there to protect you.  If you drain all the fluid, your body will just make more.
If you get signs of infection, like swelling or redness around your blister that grows then go directly to a doctor because infection can be dangerous.  This treatment also works on any kind of cut or burn that won’t form a proper scab and I have seen friends use it with some success on bicycling road rash.
What about preventing blisters?  Well, make sure your shoes fit well.  Don’t run a whole bunch of miles in a row in shoes that are brand new and know that extending miles or running faster is more likely to give you blisters.  Does your foot slide around in part of your shoe even though the rest of the shoe fits?  There are many different ways to lace shoes.  Runners World did a good article on it, click here to see it; how to lace your running shoes
Wear good quality running socks that are made out of something other than cotton.  Wet cotton is a really huge source of blisters for most people.  Since feet sweat and rain happens, your socks will not stay dry.  There are all sorts of great brands and I’m not going to review them all here.  For me all the higher end brands sold by most running and cycling websites and stores are fairly similar in terms of results.  For some people socks with merino wool blends are best and for some synthetics are best.  Not all skin is the same.
Another trick that helps some people with serious blister problems is to wear very thin and tight socks under a second pair of outer socks.  If you can’t find any super thin socks or don’t have room inside your shoes without making them too tight, use the feet from a pair of panty-hose.  Just be sure to cut them high enough to keep them from rolling down into your shoes and causing trouble.  The idea is that the socks rub more against the panty-hose than your skin and so you don’t blister so much. 
If you find that you keep getting blistered in a particular spot then take off your shoe and spend some time examining the inside with your eyes and fingers to see whether there is a seam or bump somewhere.  A friend of mine and I took the insole out of a pair of her trail shoes (you know, that part inside on the bottom) and found a bump under it.  It was right where she gets her blisters.  We took a nail file to the bump.  No more blisters since.  There is also mole-skin.  This is a product you can buy in the band-aid aisle.  While your skin is all clean and dry you apply the mole-skin to the spot that keeps getting blistered to cover and protect it.  You can also apply skin lubricant like Body glide or Trislide (sold anywhere that sells trail shoes or bicycles) to your feet before you put your socks on.  Slippery, lubricated feet don’t blister as easily.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lee. I just stumbled across your blog and love it. So glad to have something new to read when I need to procrastinate :) Looking forward to following along on the adventures!

    Laura (aka the chick that finished right behind you at the interclub run in December)