Thank you for an interesting question. I read your clarification
request after I composed my answer. You'll find a section titled
"Immobilization" near the end of my post.
"A small blister may just be allowed to heal by itself. Sometimes you
will need to have a blister punctured to reduce pressure on the
underlying skin. (If you are diabetic this is often important and
should be done in a doctors office or emergency room.)
The suggestion most often given is to heat a pin or needle over a
flame until it glows red, allow it to cool and then carefully puncture
the blister close to its edge. Apply gentle pressure to allow the
fluid to drain. After you have punctured the blister and drained much
of the fluid, you should not remove the protectective cover of skin.
This skin acts as a biological dressing and will also reduce
irritation on the raw tissues beneath. You should then apply an
antibiotic cream or an antiseptic such as Betadine (povidone-iodine)
and a sterile gauze as a dressing. Moleskin or tape applied to a
blister will cause all of the skin to peel off along with the
"Treatment - A blister should be opened as soon as possible. Then the
skin layers will adhere together, and you'll be running pain-free the
next day. Swab the blister with alcohol or other antiseptic solution
and prick it with a needle heated in a flame. Drain the fluid, but
leave the skin. Then cover the area with an adhesive bandage. Within
48 hours, most blisters are dry enough to expose them to the air.
Prevention - If you are susceptible to blisters, try wearing
dual-layer or blister-free socks to minimize friction and moisture.
(Socks made from breathable synthetics work especially well to keep
your feet dry). Also, over-the-counter neoprene insoles can reduce
friction. Break in new shoes gradually, and make sure you're wearing
shoes that fit properly and are correct from a biomechanical point of
view, as too much foot motion can cause friction. A shoe that is too
tight will also cause considerable rubbing.
Can you run with it? - Let comfort be your guide."
A very descriptive article on taping can be found at Racing the Planet
Fixing Your Feet with Tape
You can tape before your event as a proactive preventative measure or
in a reactive mode after hot spots or blisters develop.
[Due to the size of the article and the importance of all the hints
and tips I'll let you read the whole page rather than quote parts of
Topics covered are: Taping Basics, Duct Tape Techniques, Taping the
Toes, Taping Between Toe and Foot, Taping the Bottom of the Heel,
Taping the Bottom of the Foot, Taping the Sides of the Foot, and
Taping the Toes.
Can Blisters be Prevented?
Yes. Once the cause of the blister is determined, the blister can be
prevented. Some common ways to prevent blisters are:
- Wear shoes that fit properly.
- Keep feet as dry as possible.
- Change socks regularly.
- Wear two pairs of socks
If you wear two pairs of socks, the friction will occur between
the two socks, instead of between the sock and skin
- Wear a padded tape that doesn't move and stays on your feet when wet
- Use foot powder to help keep your feet dry.
- Wear blister-free, synthetic socks.
Synthetic socks wick moisture away from the skin.
- Lubricate your feet with vaseline
[Scroll to middle of page] To prevent blisters, experts recommend:
"Moisten your feet. Just like sweaty skin, dry skin is also more prone
to friction. Use skin creams and lotions liberally on a daily basis to
maintain proper moisture.
Choose blister-free socks. Synthetic socks wick moisture away from the
skin. Cotton may be lighter, but it retains fluid. Socks with
reinforced heels and toes also help reduce friction.
Run with slick skin. Coat your feet with Vaseline or another lubricant
before you run. Or use Second Skin, a padded tape that stays on even
when wet. Both methods form a protective shield between your skin and
Double up. Wear two pairs of socks so the friction occurs between the
two socks, rather than between the sock and skin. If your shoe now
feels too tight, go up a half-size as long as your foot doesn't slide
around, making blisters a possibility.
Wear shoes and socks that fit. Shoes that are too small will cause
blisters under the toes and on the ends of the toenails. There should
be a thumbs width of space between the toes and end of the toe box.
Your socks should fit smoothly, with no extra fabric at the toes or
Tips from runners
"Every runner has at least one anti-blister secret. Here are some
suggestions shared by members of the Dead Runners Society, an Internet
(7 tips and hints)
Sports Medicine Foot Blister Prevention: What You Can Recommend To Athletes
Tips About Shoes, Insoles And Socks You Can Pass On To Patients
"In order to prevent blisters, we need to minimize friction. This
begins with shoe selection. Emphasize to patients that their shoes
should fit comfortably, with about a thumb?s width (3/8-inch to
1/2-inch) between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. Narrow
shoes can cause blisters on the hallux and fifth toe. A shallow toe
box can lead to blisters on the tops of the toes, while loose shoes
often create blisters on the tips of the toes.
Shoes should be sport specific. When trying on shoes, athletes
should wear the same sock, insoles or orthotic inserts they wear when
playing or working out. Encourage them to get shoes fitted in the
afternoon or evening, since feet tend to swell during the day.
Athletes should wear their shoes around the house for one to two hours
to identify any areas of discomfort. It often helps to break in shoes
by wearing them for one to two hours on the first day of sports
activity and gradually increase use each day.
However, even if shoes fit well, the insoles (or sock liners)
could cause problems if they have worn out or flattened down. Remind
athletes to check the condition of the insoles periodically and
replace them if necessary. A new OTC insole (such as those
manufactured by Spenco Medical Corporation) can keep friction to a
minimum. Also encourage runners to examine the inside of footwear for
seams or rough areas that often correspond to the sites of blisters.
Emphasizing the proper socks also can decrease friction and
prevent blister formation. Socks made from synthetic blends are best.
Socks made from polypropylene or other new synthetic materials can
wick moisture away from the skin more effectively than wool or cotton,
further decreasing the likelihood of blisters. Layering socks or
special double-layered socks can further minimize shearing forces. If
your athletes wear socks with large toe seams, tell them that wearing
the socks inside out can help prevent blisters on the tops of their
toes. It is also a good idea for athletes to carry an extra pair of
socks to change into if their socks become too damp.
A Review Of Helpful Lubricants And Drying Agents
When athletes have areas of the feet that are prone to blistering,
applying lubricants (like petroleum jelly, bag balm or even dry soap
flakes) before they put on socks helps reduce friction. Athletes
should reapply large amounts of petroleum jelly every 10 miles during
long walks or running events. Instead of petroleum jelly, some
athletes prefer applying non-petroleum anti-chafing lubricants, such
as BodyGlide (W. Sternoff, LLC) or Runner?s Lube (Mueller Sports
Medicine, Inc.), prior to a long distance walk to prevent blisters.
These products are waterproof, perspiration-proof, non-greasy, and
wash off with soap and water.
Another recommendation is to massage both feet with lanolin
every night for a month before a big walking or running event. It?s
better than petroleum jelly since it doesn?t create heat when friction
occurs. It is also a good barrier for water in case it rains during
Minimizing moisture on the feet by using drying agents is
another way to reduce blister formation. In a double-blind study
conducted at the U.S. Military Academy, cadets who used the
prescription antiperspirant Drysol (Person & Covey, Inc.) for at least
three nights before a 21km hike had a 21 percent incidence of foot
blisters, as compared to 48 percent for the placebo group. Drying foot
powders, such as Zeasorb (Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.), and
antiperspirant sprays (that contain aluminum chlorhydrate)."
Read: Other Preventive Approaches and Pertinent Treatment Tips
The Self Rescue Group
"Blisters can be "glued" in place if it is necessary to keep walking.
Drain the blister with a sterile needle or knife. Inject a small
amount of super glue or tincture of benzoin into the blister and press
the loose skin into place. The pain is intense, but will only last a
few moments. Cover the blister with a piece of tape and keep going."
Additional miscellaneous information can be found at the following sites:
Blisters & Foot Care
ESPN Sore Winner Training Room
SHOES TWO PAIRS
"Once you find a shoe you like, consider buying a second pair. You can
break in both pairs of shoes at the beginning of your marathon
training and then put the second pair in the closet.
The midsole in running shoes, the shock-absorbing, compressible
cushioning that protects your foot, will wear out after 350-500 miles.
This usually happens about three months into marathon training, right
when many runners are doing their longest training runs. Having a
second pair of the same shoe already broken in can help keep your feet
running smoothly and blister-free."
"a former Olympian, is bothered by blisters so runs with plastic bags
inside his running shoes to minimise friction. This would work with
heavier boots and would also provide a vapour barrier in cold, wet
Various combinations of the following keywords were used for my research:
feet blisters running runner's healing treatment prevention tape
taping how to heal hot spots marathon shoes socks hydration long march
heavy pack friction immobilizing
Best of luck to you,