At Kensington Podiatry, we believe prevention is always better than cure. If you have any problems with your feet, ankles, or lower legs, we’ll be delighted to help you – but we’re also happy to tell you how to prevent problems.
Most of my clients are runners, semi-professional and professional athletes. And blisters are often a big problem for them.
Why do we get blisters?
Blisters are formed when you exercise. The most common culprit is running. One of the reasons why we get blisters is mainly due to ill-fitting shoes but another unknown reason why we get blisters is dues to something that can be missing when we are walking/running, which it is called shock absorption.
What is shock absorption?
As Newton said – for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Every time our feet hit the ground, the ground hits them right back, with equal force, in the opposite direction.
This force goes into our body, feet and joints. If we’re not protected from the ground by shock-absorbing materials (like the correct shoes), then we are more likely to damage the skin and get blisters.
Wearing shoes that are too big or too small can cause blisters.
Did you know that many people (even professional athletes) go their whole lives not knowing their correct shoe size? For example, they think they are size 5 when they are actually size 6 or 7.
The main reason behind this is that we tend to stop measuring our feet. After age 21 or so, we assume our shoe size is going to stay the same for life.
In fact, it changes as biomechanics, foot positions, and foot alignments change. Believe it or not, we can end up with longer or shorter feet at any age.
As a podiatrist, my first advice for runners to prevent blisters would be: make sure you get your feet measured. Know exactly what size you are.
- The correct length
- Firm support at the heel
- Wide toe box
- Tightened shoelaces
- Material that’s not too soft
If your shoes don’t tick all these boxes, you’re more likely to get blisters and other problems with your feet.
Blisters mostly appear on nails or around the nails; as well as the back of the heel. This is because if your shoe is either too tight or too long when you exercise you are constantly bashing the toes against the shoe. This will form blisters underneath the nails, around the nails and on the back of the heel – which is why it’s important to wear shoes that fit.
Another way to prevent blisters is by wearing the right socks. The wrong socks can cause a lot of problems with your feet.
Nowadays you can get lots of fancy socks from sports shops, like friction-free or blister-free ones – which are great. But even if you’re a semi-professional or professional athlete, you don’t have to get that technical about socks – if they’re 100% cotton, you are fine. Just avoid polyester and other non-cotton socks – especially when running. These are more likely to give you blisters. Another issue runners should be careful with is wearing socks that are too thick, because it also causes blisters.
And lastly, another cause of blisters is sweat – or any other kind of moisture, including moisturizers. When your feet are too moist, the skin gets softer and it becomes easier for the nail to form blisters.
This means it’s a good idea to prevent sweating. One thing I recommend to my clients is surgical spirit. You can find it at your chemist. Before you go for a run, dabbing it around the feet and in between toes will reduce the sweating.
So, there are a lot of things you can do to prevent blisters. But if you do get blisters, our podiatrists are more than happy to help you out. Click here for expert professional help to fix your problem so you can get back to running.