How to Handle Blisters When Running

Tips for Treating Blisters So You Can Keep Moving

Even with your best blister prevention efforts, sometimes you can't avoid getting painful blisters during a long run or race. And once you get one, a blister can affect your ability to run and may even cause you to cut your run short or force you to drop out of a race.

Here are some tips on what to do if you start to feel a blister forming, so you can keep running comfortably:

Lubricate your feet.

Runner applying lubricant on foot
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Carry a small tube of Vaseline or Aquaphor (Buy Aquaphor on Amazon) in your running pack or wherever you hold your food. If you feel a blister hot spot (area on your foot that's burning), rub the Vaseline or Aquaphor on the area. It will act as a lubricant for your feet, which will hopefully prevent the blister from forming. But just make sure you just put on a thin layer -- if you use it too liberally, your feet will be sliding around.

Tie your shoes properly.

Sometimes blisters are caused by shoes that are tied too tight. You should be able to slide one finger under the knot. If you can't, your shoes are probably tied too tightly, so loosen the laces in order to give you some more room. However, make sure you don't go overboard: Shoes that are too loose can also cause blisters because your foot is sliding around too much, so make sure they still feel snug.

Also see:  Are My Running Shoes Too Small?

Cover up the blisters with the right product.

Bring along a blister bandage, such Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads (Buy Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads on Amazon), in your running belt or pocket. These cushions provide relief while also protecting the blister and keeping it from popping.

Make sure you don't use a regular band-aid to cover a blister. They move around too much (or fall off) and can actually make a blister worse, or lead to even more blisters. Products such as Spenco 2nd Skin adhere better to the skin and shouldn't move around or fall off.

Change your socks during the race or run.

Wet, sweaty socks can contribute to blister formation. If you have access to a new pair of socks, switch them and sprinkle some powder, such as Dr. Scholl's foot powder, in the socks to help keep your feet dry. Some runners get a fresh pair of socks from one of their race day supporters on the course and change them halfway through the race. This strategy especially comes in handy when it's raining in the beginning of the race and then stops (but your feet are still wet!).

And, of course, make sure you're wearing the right type of socks to try to prevent the blisters in the first place. Wear synthetic running socks (not 100% cotton) that wick moisture away from your feet when they sweat during running.

Also see: How to Keep Feet From Burning While Running

Stop at a medical aid station for assistance.

In longer races such as half marathons and marathons, there are usually some medical aid stations along the race course. They have medical experts and all the supplies needed to treat your blistered feet.

Some runners are hesitant to stop at a medical aid station because they don't want to waste time. However, treating painful blisters will save you time overall because you won't have to slow down or walk because of your painful blisters.

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