If you have ever done anything on your feet, chances are you have had to tackle blisters. The year I walked the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk I got some monster blisters! I had broken in my shoes, walked and walked and done all of the prep work to avoid the nasty things, and still suffered. sigh.
I find myself fighting them now and again, probably due to my laziness in not changing out of damp socks after a workout. Too much information, I know.
Blisters can be the bane of long distance runner or walkers’ life. There are different theories out there as to how to treat them. Here are the top best advice tips on how to avoid blisters:
Wear-in your shoes – Make sure you have comfortable walking and running shoes that you have already used in training to avoid blisters. It is also important to have more than one pair. This is key. I have a friend that swears by a certain type of shoe. She has three pair exactly the same. She numbers them 1, 2 and 3 on the back of the shoe to make sure she swaps them out! Different footwear can avoid the build-up of pressure points, which will increase comfort and avoid blisters. They will also be useful when your feet get wet as this can also directly lead to blisters.
Tape your feet – If there are areas that you commonly get blisters on, try taping them up. Adding a protective layer of zinc oxide tape can be crucial in avoiding painful blisters. I also like moleskin on those areas as prevention.
Double Socking – This can be very helpful in saving your feet from blisters. The ‘liner’ socks should be thinner, with a larger, thicker pair of walking socks on top. This will greatly reduce your chances of blisters.
Dry Feet v Lubricated feet – Clearly regularly changing your damp and sweaty socks for cleaner ones will always help prevent blisters. (Yeah, speaking from experience this is an easy fix) It can be equally useful to determine whether your feet prefer being dry and dusted with talcum powder or lubricated with Vaseline or other petroleum jelly. Everyone is different so know whether you are a foot sweater or not can help.
Blister care during training – If you are unfortunate enough to develop blisters during training DO NOT POP OR PEEL IT. Let it heal naturally allowing the blisters to heal before you begin walking again. If you pop the blisters, this can lead to it becoming a blister hotspot. If this happens you will develop chronic blister problems in the area.
After blisters, chafing is one of the most common complaints of discomfort during distance training. It can occur on the inner thigh, groin area and armpits. Chafing can be incredibly uncomfortable and irritating but can be easily avoided:
Hydrate – Ensure that you keep yourself hydrated, drinking plenty of water during exercise. Being properly hydrated enables you to perspire freely. If you stop sweating the remnants will dry into salt crystals, which in turn cause friction and result in chafing. Painful and irritating. Not fun.
Base Layer – Ensure your base layer of clothing is tight fitting and is effective at pulling perspiration away from the body, otherwise the damp layer will cause chafing.
Skin-tight shorts – Bike shorts are designed to be skin-tight, resulting in a fit that will prevent chafing of your thigh area. There really is a reason folks wear the skin tight bike pants – not just to look like the pros.
Vaseline – Apply Vaseline or a Bodyglide product to any chafing prone areas in order to reduce friction and rubbing.
During the 3Day walk one of our team members was like Mary Poppins and always had vaseline and moleskin on hand to help with our issues! I was thrilled to take advantage of her goods.
Do you have any more blister tips? Do you pop or not?
Enjoy your day! Another chilly one where we are!