Pain might be inevitable in running. But, blisters don't have to be.
George Orwell wrote in his seminal work "1984" that "In the face of pain there are no heroes." Similarly, in the face of injury, there is no training.
Blisters from running will put you out of training in an instant. Even if they aren't catastrophically painful, your body with try to avoid agitating it and this might throw off the ever-so-important stride you've been developing as a runner.
There's a lot riding on your feet. Preventing running blisters must be a priority. Luckily, keeping everyone's skin healthy is our priority.
I think we can help you out here.
Before you run out the door, let's break down how to keep the skin on your feet from breaking down.
Anatomy of Running Blisters
Your skin is made of several layers of cells. And, in simplest terms, blisters occur when layers of that skin are damaged without tearing or cutting the skin.
The damaged cells and other cells in the area will release plasma to try to encourage healing in the area of damage. This is what's happening in that weird looking bubble of blister you have.
Plasma is the genuinely liquid part of your blood. The stuff that makes it red and the stuff that fight infections (red and white blood cells respectively) are microscopic solids that float in the plasma. Plasma helps the body transport other materials at a microscopic level as well.
The plasma will be reabsorbed by the body as the blister heals. But sometimes the blister will leak or burst by any circumstance. Regardless of that, the healing process could be slowed.
Knowing causes informs prevention. So, let's look at the causes first.
Heat: on its own and in high enough temps, extreme blistering is unavoidable. In your shoes, however, a few things to your feet. The most obvious is just simple discomfort from the heat; next is moisture from sweat (more on that in a minute); finally, it helps blood flow overall and, thus, swelling.
Sweat: it's normally great for cooling things down when you run. But the added moisture can soften and weaken the skin. This makes it easier to sustain damage from other causes.
Really at issue here is moisture in your shoes. The reason why we specified sweat? You will always sweat. It won't always be rainy when you run.
Friction: sometimes too much or too little friction will cause frequent rubbing on the skin of the feet. Shoes that are too tight can cause blisters on the heal or on the tips of the toes.
Shoes that are are too loose will let feet and shoe move too much around each there. This can cause blisters on the heel, around the ankle or on the ball of the foot.
Heat, friction, and sweat can be impacted by getting the right kind of footwear.
Moisture-wicking fabrics help keep feet dry by pulling moisture to the surface of the fabric as it comes off your skin. This helps you stay dry.
Shoes that breathe well allow the air you force past your feet as you run to help dry out your tootsies.
The right socks help some prevent friction. Specific to shoes, the right kind and the right size are very relevant. And to get the most out of your shoes generally and the most blister prevention specifically, you need to know a little about your feet.
Get the right size with the help of a running shoe store associate. Those folks will have at least some experience in setting people up with the right size and kind of shoe. Be sure to start with the standard sizing methods but always remember that if the running shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it!
Your longest toe should have about half an inch between its tip and the end of your shoe. Your feet will slide and shift a little in your shoes. Preventing blisters on your toes starts will preventing repeated contact with the front of the shoe with every stride.
Prevent friction with salves when you've tried or you don't want to do anything else. Anti-chaffing products like Squirrel's Nut Butter are designed for athletes that want an all natural way to prevent the pain of damaged skin. This is probably the simplest way to prevent blisters by friction and rubbing.
It's simple: we lube joints when they rub and squeak. Moving parts in car engines need oil. You see where I'm going with this.
If logic is not enough, consider that a study of studies by three physician-researchers found that using a barrier immediately over the skin had the best promise of preventing running blisters.
Don't Run Afoul of Your Feet
Your skin is the largest organ in our body by area. Think of taking care of it like you would your other organs and you will realize that you can do more.
Treating the skin on your feet with our all-natural, high-quality salves will help strengthen and make your skin more supple, and avoid running blisters. It will help heal damaged skin and prevent damage by being a resilient protector of your skin, especially in wet and friction-environments like your running feet.
Dip in, friends.