Blisters are a real nuisance to runners and are caused by friction between your skin and your socks or shoes. Other common causes are poorly-fitting shoes and foot problems like bunions, heel spurs and hammer toes.
Continuous friction causes the body to produce fluid as a cushion, which builds up under the skin and causes a lot of pain and blood blisters happen when the friction has broken a small blood vessel.
If you’ve got a large blister, it’s best to drain it straightaway otherwise it’ll continue to hurt. The best way is to wash your hands first, then sterilize a needle with a little surgical spirit or alcohol. Make a small puncture in the blister and then drain out the fluid with gentle finger pressure.
Then cover the area with a sticking plaster or a close-fitting bandage to keep germs from getting in. If the blistering is severe, take the plaster off every day and soak your foot in Epsom salts, to draw out any remaining fluid.
Then place a fresh plaster or bandage on the area and keep it covered until your skin tightens up again. Don’t use a flame to sterilize the needle, because you’ll end up getting particles of carbon in the wound and cause more irritation.
These shouldn’t be drained, so leave the skin intact to provide a sterile environment. The same goes for blood blisters, because you don’t want to risk getting bacteria into your bloodstream. Get some moleskin plasters from a pharmacy and cut a little hole in the middle of one, the same size as the blister and then place it over the blister.
The plaster shouldn’t be stuck onto the blister directly, because the thickness of the surrounding fabric makes a cushion protecting it from further friction. This should stop the pain and the blister will then dry up and heal on its own.
Moisten your feet with Vaseline to prevent friction before a run and moisturise your feet with skin cream every day. Synthetic socks are best as they wick moisture away from the skin, whereas cotton retains fluid.
Moleskin can also be used to cover areas prone to blister and prevent them forming. If you follow these simple steps, you can fix a blister fast and allow it to heal without infection.
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