Blisters - Treatment and Prevention

Along with our friends at we bring you a guide how to reduce your susceptibility to blisters.

Blister Problems

Blisters can be a big problem for runners, having trained hard and consistently for months all the hard work can be undone by getting a blister which puts you out for days or weeks.

Why should you put all that effort in and lose out, due to that small niggling (but VERY) painful blister on the bottom of your foot?

What causes a Blister?

Effective foot motion depends upon your shoe fitting tightly enough around your foot so the foot and shoe both work in the same range of motion and move in sync. The job of your sock is then to provide a thin separating layer between the two and allow some moisture to be wicked away from the skin keeping you cool and dry.

Blisters develop when the shoe fit is not perfect and friction occurs between the foot and the footwear.

When there is excessive pressure constantly in one area it causes a heat and friction build up that causes the area to become red and painful. This heat then separates the top layers of skin in that affected area. The body then rapidly produces fluid to fill that area, which results in a Blister.

The fluid produced is sterile but if the top layer is broken and the fluid escapes this is when infection can happen.

Hopefully this breakdown does not occur and infection does not sink in. However, even without this happening it can still take a few days to recover.

Blister Prevention - Can I prevent a blister?

The simple answer is YES; as long as you act prior to exercise, once the blister has occurred you can't change it, only manage it. Many things can be done to prevent the onset of blisters:

  • Shoe fit - Make sure your trainers or shoes fit properly. If they don't and are too big for example, then the shoe may slip around slightly, cause friction and create a blister.
  • Insoles - If the shoes are causing friction then an insole may help improve the fit and reduce rubbing. Many insoles are breathable, padded and designed not to cause friction as they are non-slipping.
  • Socks - Socks are an important factor in the prevention of blisters. Many socks now are highly breathable which keeps your foot cool and dry, so moisture and heat can't build up hence reducing friction. Many socks also have padded areas in "blister hot-zones" for added comfort, cushioning and protection.
  • Double layer socks - Thousand Mile socks are also effective at reducing blisters. The inner layer stays with the foot, the outer layer with the shoe thus eliminating friction. The socks feature a blister free and no wearout guarantee for the first 1000 miles worn.
  • Blister plasters - Specialist blister plasters like Compeed are also a great way of treating or helping to prevent the onset of blisters. These plasters lie on top of the affected area and providing a second skin which creates a friction resistant barrier so the blister can heal and the pain as well risk of infection is dramatically reduced.