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How can I treat and prevent blisters?
Blisters may be the most common of all running injuries, but they are among the easiest problems to treat and prevent with no long-term ill effects.
If you have a small blister that is not too painful, cover it with a bandage and go on with your day. The blister will probably rupture on its own. But if you have a larger blister that is painful, you may need to drain it. If it is very large (more than an inch) and severe, you may want to see your podiatrist, but you can take care of small blisters yourself with these steps:
- Get some cotton balls, a safety pin, rubbing alcohol, and a band-aid.
- Clean the blistered area with rubbing alcohol using individual alcohol wipes or an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.
- Use another wipe or cotton ball to clean the pointy tip of the safety pin.
- Gently poke the pin into the edge of the blister where you feel the most liquid underneath and push on the area gently to coax as much fluid out of the pinhole as possible. Blot the area with a tissue or cotton ball and put a band-aid over it.
I recommend leaving the band-aid on during your next run, and replacing it after you shower. This method works for small, uncomplicated blisters, but if the area is discolored, extremely painful, or large, see your podiatrist. Blisters are caused by friction and that friction can come from an ill-fitting shoe, a bunched up sock, or damp, sweaty feet in shoes that don't wick the moisture well enough on a hot day. If you have a chronic problem with blisters, check the fit of your shoe or sock. Your foot may be sliding too much in your shoe (see the lacing tip in the shoe section).