Sometimes big injuries take you away from your runner's training. And, sometimes, those big injuries are unavoidable. But, on frequent occasions, little injuries are equally problematic. Fortunately, however, those little issues are avoidable. As long as you follow these smart tips.
Blister Beating Hacks to Save Your Runs
1. Stay away from cotton socks.
While your instinct may be to stick with 100% cotton when you run, that's a mistake. Why? Cotton absorbs sweat, and sweat-filled socks will stay moist throught out the course of your run. If that happens, they'll rub against your feet and could cause blisters to develop. Instead, reach for athletic socks in a sweat-wicking material. And, if you need a bit more moisture-fighting power, sprinkle a bit of anti-fungal powder on your feet before slipping into socks.
2. Fight for fit.
Tight shoes may feel more supportive on your runs, but they can also be a major blister trigger. Why? The tighter the shoe, the more pressure and friction that hits your feet. And, remember, your shoe fit will become tighter as you run, since your feet swell while you train. So, when you lace up, remember to leave room for the swelling which will pop up as the result of your run impact.
But what if loose lacing still doesn't leave enough room for those feet to puff up? The answer may seem odd, but it could be that you need larger sneakers. Wearing running shoes one half size larger leaves feet enough room to swell without rubbing (alternatively, try a wider style sneaker than you wear for other shoe types.) Just limit up-sizing to one-half size. Otherwise, your feet will be too loose in your shoes and will rub as a result of sliding. Not to mention the toe gripping and increased risk of tripping that also go along with wearing shoes that don't fit!
3. Learn to love your calluses.
While callouses may not be the most beautiful part of your feet, they can actually be helpful when it comes to preventing blisters. After all, callouses are just areas of your skin that got tougher because they were repeatedly exposed to pressure. And tougher skin is less vulnerable to blisters. Which means that, if you are a really dedicated runner, leaving callouses alone is a fairly simple way to prevent new problems from cropping up on your feet.
But, one note on that--if your callouses are building up and creating more pressure on your feet, they will need to be treated. Just explain to your podiatrist that you run, and we can reduce them to release pressure without removing them entirely.
4. Live for moisture
Every night, right before bed, make sure to moisturize your feet. The dryer the skin, the more likely it is to sustain damage under pressure. And, since blisters are an obvious sign of skin irritation, it stands to reason that keeping your foot skin hydrated will help prevent these painful bubbles from forming.
5. Consider an athletic orthotic
If you've already added custom orthotics to your shoes, consider the fact that you may need a different kind of shoe insert when you run. Plastic orthotics may slide while you train, creating friction--and blisters. That's why many runners prefer a gel insert in their sneakers.
6. Skip around the eyeholes
Depending on where you're getting blisters, the way you lace up your sneakers may be to blame. If the tops of your feet are taking a beating, consider leaving a few eyes unlaced around the areas of pressure. But, if the backs of your heels are blister-ridden, try lacing all the way to the top holes so you can give your foot more stability within your shoe.
7. Double up
Instead of wearing just one sock, go for double layers, especially if you've sized-up on your sneakers. Of course, material matters: stick with thin, sweat-wicking athletic socks. This will keep you from creating too thick a barrier, but will still make the socks take on more friction than your actual feet!
Happy Feet Mean Happy Runners
It may seem silly to devote an entire blog post to a tiny, temporary problem, but even the smallest of blisters can take a major toll on your training. Our doctors get this because they're runners too. So, if your feet are keeping you from training your hardest, come see the Elmhurst podiatrists. We love running like you do, so we'll do everything we can to get you back to logging those miles!