Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How To: Treat a Blister To Keep You Running

Been meaning to post this for awhile. Finally I can! Hopefully this will help those of you who are blister prone or will be increasing your volume this fall for a marathon or anew distance PR.

There is nothing more annoying than a tiny little blister that chafes just in the right spot to prevent you from running. I still get blisters every now and then, and it's usually due to my sock not being on my foot properly. BUT! I don't let blisters stop me from running. This is my method for treating a blister to keep me running pain free.

Here are my supplies. Moleskin, athletic tape (not medical!), and scissors.

This (pictured below) is the culprit. Most of the dead skin is still on there (only a little bit of the raw flesh is exposed). I am going to leave the dead skin on there until it naturally falls off. The reason why you want to leave it is because if you cut it off or rip it off, you will either create sharp dead skin, which will cut into the raw flesh, or by ripping it it will tear off good skin, making the raw flesh section larger (increasing healing time). Leave the dead skin be!!! (I will explain how it comes off later)

But first! Is this (above^) the type of blister that you have? Has it already popped? Ripped? Is it like the top of a volcano about to burst? Is it deep under thick skin? My blister had already popped on its own. However, if you have a blister that is a pocket filled with fluid (like the top of a volcano) and is really painful to walk on and it doesn't die down on its own, it is a candidate for popping to relieve the pain. So to do this, sanitize a needle and pop it with a tiny tiny hole and drain it, then sanitize your foot. You want to relieve that pressure before you dress it and run on it. Keep the dead skin on!

SO! Cut a piece of moleskin that is 1/4" to 1/2" larger than the blister. Then slap the moleskin DIRECTLY onto the blister region.

Take the athletic tape (not medical! medical won't stay) and liberally cover up the moleskin, giving it up to an inch of overlap. I used two thick pieces here. I kinda massage the tape onto the skin a bit to make it adhere better.

And that is it for dressing! Now don't go sprinting for that 10K right away. Get your socks and shoes on and walk around for a good 10 mins to let the dressings stretch and adhere to your skin. Otherwise, it will fall off while running, and will create NEW blisters. Yuck!

Now for the dead skin issue. When you peel off the dressing, do it in the direction of the blister if its ripped. If the moleskin tears some of the dead skin off, that is fine, it will only take a little bit and its probably the dead skin that was ready to go anyways. Somehow the moleskin does this perfectly.

I will do this method for probably the next two weeks until a new layer of skin has formed over the raw flesh. In my case, I will be dressing it until my next race.

FYI, moleskin is really expensive, so buy it as a roll. Buying it as flat sheets is SUCH a ripoff and you get less!!!

Happy running!


  1. I got all excited you were going to pull a Ronnie Lott when I saw the scissors

  2. Thanks for the information! I get blisters all the time so this will really help me!

  3. Never found it in a roll before?! Interesting!

    Swear by mole skin. Have the same post from February on my blog :) ran through snow and slush on the streets for like 13 miles, the wet socks and shoes rubbed a blister the size of Kansas on my heel.

    Moleskin = Awesome.

    Great advice here people!!!

  4. Blech! I'm jinxing myself here, but I haven't gotten a blister since I started training. Used to get them all the time when I studied karate. Big huge sheets of skin off the soles of my feet, yucko!

  5. Useful info, thanks Jon! Knock on wood I rarely get blisters, too many other complaints so I don't have time for them.

  6. Great info! I love Moleskin! When my husband and I used to backpack, it was a must to bring in our packs!

  7. This is good. I got a blister about 6 weeks back and cut all that dead skin away. hurt like hell for WEEKS. favoring the blister was probably the reason i injured my opposite calf which in turn hurt the quad on the blister leg. I finally just collapsed into a quivvering pile of painful blubber and waited for the damned thing to heal. Thanks for the advice!

  8. Holy. Cow. I just got my first blister of marathon training, 14 weeks in! Thanks for this post!

  9. I just popped the biggest blister ever (well, since my days of pointe shoes anyways)! Never heard of moleskin, may have to give it a whirl:)

  10. I can't even remember the last time I got a blister. (Knock on wood). I swear by the Wigwam socks they give out at IM (R) events. I do have some mole skin on stand by though, just in case!


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