Nov 7, 2019

Blisters are caused by increased friction on an area of skin, which your body responds to by producing fluid below the specific area. This can lead to pressure and pain. Where there is a lot of friction, the capillaries of the area can be damaged leading to a blood blister.

What can cause blisters

  • Change in training programs (increase of speed or distance)
  • Incorrect fitting shoes
  • Bad sock choice
  • Foot abnormalities
  • Wet or hot runs result in the feet potentially moving around in the shoes more could lead

Treatment and prevention

Badly managed blisters can result in a loss of training, so here are a few tips to treating a blister

Popping a blister at home can often get infected resulting in a major problem. Should the blisters be either small or not painful, then just leave it alone. Bigger or more painful blisters can be lanced if need be with a needle that has been cleaned with an alcohol swab and not burned in a flame. Gently push the fluid out and keep the blister dry and protected with an antiseptic cream and plaster. Soaking the affected area in a salt solution can also help with any discomfort but replace the dressing after the soaking.

Some of the best treatments of blisters is to stop the formation of blisters all together.

  • Sometimes the use of Vaseline or other moisturising/lubricating creams can assist to reduce the friction.
  • Sock choice is extremely important. You need to have a sock that you are comfortable running in. Your socks must fit well without many seams or extra material in the shoes. It’s important to never change sock types or try a new sock on a big run day. Any changes need to be done during training.
  • Taping or second skins also can help reduce the friction.
  • Another element to consider is your running shoes. Make sure that they are comfortable, and their fit is correct with one finger width at the back of the shoes to ensure that the toes have enough space. Most runners go one size bigger in their running shoes.

Should you find that the blistering isn’t getting better, they keep developing or the pain gets worse, seek medical attention or see your local podiatrist. Most importantly, if you wear any custom-made insole that leads to blistering, go back to your professional who made them for you to get them adjusted.

Calvin Sinnett

Calvin Sinnett is a qualified podiatrist whose focus is to manage and correct lower limbs and foot problems & disease complications. He also has a special interest in sports podiatry and runs a private practice in Edenvale and Constantia, Johannesburg. Read more about Calvin Sinnett


Please note that information found in these articles does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing an injury or condition of any kind, it is always advisable to contact a medical professional for advice on your specific symptoms.

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