How to Treat Running Blisters

Blisters. Annoying. We all know it. They make for an uncomfortable journey, slow you down and can destroy a positive outlook on a race you've done plenty of training for. So how do you prevent them? Firstly if your not going to the doctors, try and be as sterile and hygenic as you can. Keeping broken skin clean and needles sterile helps prevent infection. 

  • As soon as you get a hotspot (which is what you notice before the onset of a blister) do something about it (see running blister prevention tips, also on the blog).
  • Keep bursting them. If they are on your toes, the pain is manageable or you are in a 2km race, suck it in and don't worry about it. If it's a major strike area of the foot and the blister is getting bigger by the kilometer, you have to burst it. Make some puncture pricks in the blister, 2-4 depending on the size. Do a few holes because the holes you make heal over, the fluid can't drain out and the blister keeps getting bigger. Can't find a needle. Use the safety pin on your race bib (note- this involves disobeying the sterility disclaimer above!)
  • Second skin helped me in an ultra. A gel like substance that sticks to the foot. You place it over the treated blister and secure it with tape. It cushions the foot strike, reduces the pain and you can keep running.
  •  I haven't tried this method but it sounds good. The problem with pricking is even after just a few hours the holes you make in the blister usually fill in and you have to repeat the process. Take a needle and thread. Thread the piece of cotton through the blister. The cotton prevents the hole filling in and the fluid drains out through the cotton.
  • As a last resort be creative. Cut away at the insole on the shoe where the blister is rubbing or place something under the insole (such as cardboard, folded up paper towel etc.) It might just relieve the pressure enough to keep going.

Prevention is better than cure and how to prevent running blisters is an art in itself. The next blog post to be posted soon is:

Running Blister Prevention

Grahak Cunningham is one of Australia's best motivational speakers and keynote speakers. He is a four time finisher of the 3100 mile race and unfortunately had to run 4000 km's with a blister in 2009. There was also a competitor who competed before Grahak's time who had to pull out because he got blisters on his blisters.