Now that summer is here many of us are getting outside and running, walking or hiking, and most of us have experienced a blister because of these activities. Even the smallest blister can make an enjoyable event turn painful.
What Is a Blister?
Blisters are pockets of fluid within the upper layers of your skin and can be formed due to a number of reasons.
Function and Fit
Before starting these sports, the very first thing you need to do is be sure your shoes are designed for your intended activity. Shoes designed for the basketball or tennis court are not good hiking shoes.
Secondly, be sure the shoes are the right size and are not too big and not too small. In addition to proper sizing, the quality of your footwear is important. You want a shoe that holds up under conditions you will encounter during training and your event. Athletic shoes should be changed every six months in order to maintain proper support.
Unfortunately, even with properly fitting shoes blisters can still happen. The three major blister causes include heat, moisture and friction. The heat and humidity of Central Ohio summer’s is perfect blister making weather.
Socks as Solutions
Choosing the right socks can make a big difference in foot health. Wearing moisture-wicking socks is one remedy that can reduce or eliminate blisters. Wearing double-layer socks keeps feet cool and dry by wicking moisture from the skin. They reduce friction on feet by transferring the friction from between the foot and the sock to the area between the two sock layers.
Other Blister Solutions
Sometimes no matter what socks they wear some athletes still get blisters. Here are some other tricks to try for blister prevention.
Lubricants and Powders
Interestingly, it has been found that rubbing on slightly moist skin produces more friction than rubbing either very wet or very dry skin. Lubricants help reduce friction by keeping skin-to-skin or skin-to-shoe areas wet and slick.
Powders and antiperspirants work in an opposite manner to reduce friction by keeping feet very dry. Lightly apply an over-the-counter powder or antiperspirant directly to your clean and dry feet.
Drink water throughout your workout! Keeping your body appropriately hydrated prevents foot swelling and keeps feet and toes from rubbing on your shoes. It also prevents swollen toes from rubbing on each other.
If you are dehydrated and lose too much sodium (salt) from sweating, surprisingly, you end up retaining fluids in your hands and feet which causes swelling.
Blisters Be Gone
With some knowledge and preventative action, you and your feet can be active with no concern for blisters ending your summer fun.