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Tips to Prevent and Treat Blisters for Hikers, Bikers and Runners

Suffering from blisters when you spend so much active time outdoors can put a serious damper on your lifestyle. Blisters are painful and as small as they are, have the potential to keep you from doing what you love- whether it’s going on a scenic hike, training to run a marathon or taking the bike out. Not only do they hurt like heck, they can be recurring as well.

Luckily, blisters are somewhat easy to treat, depending on the severity. Blisters can also be prevented by taking the time to routinely prepare your feet for physical activity. 

Blister Prevention

Avoiding blisters altogether is ideal. If they don’t have the chance to form, they don’t have to be treated.

While often inevitable, there are a few things to do in preventing blisters, even if rigorous physical activity is part of the plan. 

  • Find the Right Shoes: Yes, it’s that simple. Shoes are the frequent cause of blisters. Blisters caused by shoes form when toes, arches and soles of feet rub against the shoe. It would be easy if everyone had the exact same foot and shoes could be consistent across the board, but that is not the case. When you go shoe shopping, try them on. Walk around in them and make sure they’re comfortable before you decide on a pair. We are in the day and age where making online purchases is convenient, but making a trip to a physical store has its advantages; this is one of them
  • Wear the Right Socks: Friction caused by a bunched up sock is a blister’s best friend. Choose the correct size and style for the shoe or activity you are performing. Slip resistant socks may be best for rigorous activities. Another consideration is selecting to wear moisture-wicking synthetic socks. These will help keep blisters at bay, as cotton socks often soak in the sweat, creating a damp atmosphere for your skin and will only agitate and increase infection to already irritated skin. 
  • Keep Your Feet Dry:  As mentioned above, the right socks will help keep feet dry – but let’s take this one step further: foot specific products are a great addition or alternative to sweat-resistant socks . Giving your feet a dose of talcum, cornstarch or baby powder will help at the root of the problem; absorbing any moisture and keeping your feet dry. 

Blister Treatment

If you’re struggling to keep blisters away, consider making an appointment with a podiatrist. Together you can come up with a plan right for your lifestyle and at a professional level, with a professional. Until this happens, there are a few at-home remedies you may want to try: 

  • Keep it Clean: Always keep your blister clean and covered, especially when exercising. Use an antibacterial ointment to stave off infection and use a padded bandage to prevent further rubbing.
  • Don’t Pop Your Blister: This is like someone saying “don’t push the big red button”… it’s all you want to do, right? We all know there are consequences to pushing that button, just as popping a blister can lead to an infection; making the problem much worse. If the blister swells and becomes too painful, it is definitely time to seek professional help. 
  • Drain Your Blister:  You can safely drain a blister without popping it. Use a sterilized needle to pierce the very edge and allow the fluid to leak out. Don’t peel off the skin, for it serves as a barrier against infection.

Blisters can cramp your active lifestyle, but they are typically easy to remove. If you notice redness, blood, pus or substantial swelling around a blister, call your podiatrist right away.

If summer outdoor activities are your thing and blisters are a constant battle, contact Triangle Foot and Ankle Specialist today at (919) 851-3435! We can help get you back on the path you love. 

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