Bye, Bye, Blisters! How To Prep for A Smoother Run

| Fitness

woman blisters

Running is a total body exercise, but let's face it: the feet take the heat! It's usually trial and error that lead you to the perfect sock-shoe combination — each runner's feet are different from the next runner's. Even your own two feet can have different needs. It depends on your posture, if you're left- or right-side dominant, genetics, and of course, where and how much you run. Blisters happen, but they don't have to. It's time to get ahead of them!

Sock it to 'em. Choose a fast-absorbing material, or "wicking" fabric. You have to pull the moisture away from the skin and thus relocate it. You don't want soppy socks! Go for nylon or wool materials and avoid 100 percent cotton. Moisture plus fiction creates a blister.

>> Read more: Wear the Best Socks to Have Your Best Workout

Prep the feet. You know the areas that tend to cause you the most discomfort: the top of the heels, the big toe or the arch of your foot. Wherever the vulnerable spots lie, go ahead and prep them before you put on socks. Use moleskin bandages for the ultimate protection and comfort. A little pep talk wouldn't hurt either!

Fit the shoe. It's up to you, Cinderella, to make sure that shoe fits. If you're going to spend a few pretty dollars on a specialty pair, make sure you're getting shoes that address your biggest concerns. Running shoes should be tighter around the arches of the feet and wider by the toes to prevent jamming. Take your time and try a few pairs. Don't assume you're the same size! Runner's World suggests trying them at the end of the day when your feet have swelled and flattened more (thanks, gravity).

pink running shoes

>> Still not a good fit? Custom lace your running shoes to ease the pain.

Bummer! You ended up with a blister anyway, but don't worry. The important part is to take care of it. You don't want to ignore blisters or make them worse because they could lead to infections.

  • First, try to let the blister heal on its own. Try some cross training for a day or two if the blister is pretty large or in an awkward place. Take the weight off your feet and use machines or work on the core.
  • Cover the blister with a breathable bandage and resume activity. If the blister is larger than a pea, give it some time to calm down before pushing yourself back into a run.
  • Drain the blister if you absolutely have to. Use a sanitized pin and gently poke the edge of the blister, pressing from the opposite side to move the fluid out of the bubble. This should not hurt.
  • Leave the dead skin over the blister, flush it if needed and cover with a bandage.
  • If the blister opens up completely, apply antibiotic cream and a clean bandage. Do not try to introduce it to activities causing friction again until new skin has developed. You can remove the bandage at night to let it "breathe."

Keep it clean. This goes for the blister itself and your skin at all times. Your socks should always be fresh at the beginning of a workout, changing them mid-way if needed (this goes for underwear, too!). Your shoes should be sanitized post-workout or properly dried after rainy runs. Eventually, you will need to know when it's time to pick up new shoes.

>> Learn more: Are Your Running Shoes Hurting You?