Whether you’re hitting the trail in a pair of new running shoes or simply trying to break in a cute new pair of sandals, you are bound to run into a sweaty, friction-filled and painful problem: blisters.
Blisters are those super-sore, burning and fluid-filled spots that commonly occur on your feet. They are caused by friction, heat and sweat, making them much more common in the summer or when you’re working up a sweat while exercising. Here are some of the best ways to treat blisters you have and prevent them from coming back!
Break that blister (the right way)
Because blisters are filled with fluid, it’s tempting to break them so the skin is flat again. It is best to let a blister heal on its own without anything covering it or rubbing up against it, which means you don’t have to break it.
However, if you have a bigger blister that you imagine will pop on its own once you put your shoes on again, you may have no choice but to drain it. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching a blister, since it can easily get infected. Clean a needle with rubbing alcohol, then gently puncture the side of your blister, pressing fluid out. Pat it with clean gauze and apply an antibiotic ointment and bandage to it. Don’t remove that top flap of skin – it’s protecting the raw, painful skin underneath.
Picking the right coverage
You know a typical Band-Aid is no match for the sweaty, slippery skin that is likely to surround your blister (and that you are likely to have on your feet when you are walking around in the summer weather). Instead, choose moleskin, a softer bandage alternative that is more flexible and breathable than your typical plastic strips. Put a little gauze on top of the antibacterial ointment and blister, then secure it on with a moleskin bandage. You can get them at drugstores and running stores.
Prepare your shoes and feet
If you are anticipating a blister from a new pair of shoes or sandals, wear them around the house the day before with a pair of lightweight socks on. This will help you determine what is rubbing where, so you can be proactive about blister prevention. Rub some Vaseline or an ointment specifically made to prevent blisters on problem areas. It will act as a barrier when friction starts to happen. Dr. Scholl’s Blister Defense Anti-Friction Stick is a good choice if you tend to get blisters a lot.
This “practice run” in new shoes also might help break them in, loosening up tight leather so they will hurt less the next day.
Socks to suck away moisture
Of course, the best way to prevent blisters is to wear comfortable, supportive shoes that fit correctly. If you tend to get blisters from running shoes, go for a pair with mesh or another breathable material.
Sometimes, certain types of socks can also go a long way in preventing these bubbly sores, too. Most of the time, polyester or wool is the best at wicking away moisture, and anything cotton is usually the worst. If you’re going on a long hike, bring extra socks and change when one pair feels damp.
Powder or other products that are designed to wick away moisture can also help in blister prevention while running or simply walking in new flats.