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Don’t Let Sports Blisters Slow You Down

No matter what sport you’re into, nothing should stop you from hitting your personal goals every week. Unfortunately, something as small as a foot blister can do just that. And it happens a lot, even to top athletes. Whilst not as serious as a broken bone or a sprain, blisters shouldn’t be taken lightly. They can affect your concentration, decrease your performance and cause overuse injuries to your knees and ankles.

Running Blisters

Imagine being on a run. The weather is perfect and you’re feeling great. You may even be able to beat your record this time. But suddenly you feel a small, yet sharp pain on the ball of your foot. You immediately recognise that it’s the beginning of a blister. Maybe your new socks are too thick or maybe your feet are swollen from the heat. All you know is that your run is over. It’s always best to treat the blister as soon as possible to prevent the pain from getting worse.

Blisters in Sport

Sports related blisters form when your foot slides or shifts, causing friction in your shoe while you run or perform other athletic activities. Fluid collects between the irritated layers of skin tissue and swells forming the unsightly bubble. Blisters develop very quickly, can take several days to heal, and if they break open they can become infected, making the pain even worse and further delaying your recovery.

Blisters can affect anyone whether you are an athlete, sporting enthusiast or just on a mission to get fit. Activities like running, hiking, playing football or tennis, climbing mountains or dancing, can all cause blisters to strike on any part of the foot. From the top of the toes (and in between them) to the back of the heel, blisters can stop you in your tracks and nobody needs that. But the situation can be avoided.

Preventing Sports Blisters

Luckily there are preventative measures you can easily take to avoid getting a blister. If you notice red spots on your feet after a workout or a run, these could be your ‘hot spots’, or your blister prone areas. Cover them with a blister plaster or try Compeed anti-blister stick – it’s a good idea to always keep a care kit in your sports bag. This way you can prevent a blister before it develops.

Poorly fitting shoes that are either too tight or too big will increase rubbing or friction on the foot and toes. If possible, carry a spare pair of shoes with you when you train. If you feel the hint of a blister coming on, stop and switch shoes or apply anti-blister stick to the potentially sore spot. That way your workout won’t be interrupted. Sweaty feet create the friction that leads to blisters, so try to keep your feet dry by using foot powder or changing your socks regularly.

Treating Sports Blisters

Once you get a blister, action should be taken immediately to minimise the pain and maximize recovery. After gently and carefully cleaning the area, apply a waterproof blister plaster to cushion the blister and protect it from harmful bacteria and dirt. Try to avoid wearing anything that puts pressure or friction on the wound. Never deliberately burst a blister but if it does open, clean it with mild soapy water, soak it in a salt water footbath for 10 minutes and apply a fresh blister patch. Once the pain is under control you can get back on track with your goals.