Just when everything seems to be going smoothly—bam! A blister shows up. Whether you’re breaking in a new pair of sneakers, running your first (or 15th) marathon or just going about your normal routine, these painful, annoying bumps happen. Even the smallest blister can have a big impact on your fitness routine, so you want to make sure you’re taking steps to prevent them, and to treat them properly when they appear.
Ouch! Make it go away!
You felt it coming—that raw, stinging pain creeping over your heel during your workout. Now that your sock’s peeled back, it’s confirmed: a fluid-filled, fleshy little bubble has formed on your heel. Resist the urge to poke or pick it! Most of the time, blisters heal on their own without any treatment.
You do want to keep the area clean to avoid infection, and there are some natural and over-the-counter products that can help relieve pain and speed the healing process.
- Gently wash the area with antibacterial soap and warm water.
- Apply aloe vera gel, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties, to relieve swelling and redness. Aloe also works to keep skin moisturized, helping with the healing process.
- Apply a topical antibiotic ointment, then cover the area with a clean bandage specifically for blister care. Change the bandage once a day or more often if it gets dirty or wet. At night, remove the bandage to let the area “breathe” and dry.
- Try a mineral-salt foot bath once a day to reduce swelling and soothe the blister. Do this only if the blister hasn’t opened.
- Planning to exercise? First, clean the blister well, then apply a special cushioned blister bandage. If possible, wear a different pair of sneakers—not the ones you were wearing when the blister formed.
As with many problems that arise, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to keeping blisters from forming. Here are a few ways to keep them at bay:
- Those flashy, decked-out sneakers sure look good—but do they actually fit your feet? When purchasing new footwear, have a professional fit you. It’s worth the extra time to make sure the shoes aren’t rubbing you the wrong way.
- Skip the no-show socks. They may be trendy, but these skimpy socks don’t provide adequate coverage. Use padded socks that come up past your ankles for the best blister protection.
- Moisture and friction lead to blisters, so keep your feet as dry as possible while working out. Rubbing an antiperspirant on your feet can help.
- Tie your shoes securely! Think it sounds silly? Just last week, the laces on one of my shoes were loose, and I didn’t stop my treadmill workout to tie them. Big mistake! I ended with a huge blister.