Q+A: Why these blisters every time I run?

Q I’ve just started running and love the adrenaline burst I get from my 5K efforts, but I hate the blisters that I get almost every time I run. How can I cure this painful problem?

A. Painful blisters are caused by friction between the skin and another surface, whether it be socks, shoes or a combination of both. To solve blistering problems you need to look at the following.

1) Do your shoes fit correctly – are they wide enough, deep enough and long enough to accommodate your feet?

2) Are you using a lacing technique that holds your feet securely in position?

3) Do you kick the heel of your foot back against the running shoe heel before lacing the shoe up? You should.

4) Do you wear socks? If not, you should. If you do wear socks, try using two pairs of thin socks rather than one pair of thick ones. If you do this, friction occurs between the layers of socks rather than under the foot.

5) If your feet sweat profusely, this can increase the chance of blisters. Try soaking them in surgical spirit, or even better, three per cent formaldehyde solution once a day. This will help reduce the perspiration.

If none of these help, see a podiatrist for gait analysis, as you might find that the way your foot moves within the shoe could be the root cause of the problem.

To treat blisters when they occur, you can apply petroleum jelly, cover them with Compeed (or other blister plasters) or fleece/moleskin. These will soothe the problem, though they won’t eliminate the cause.

Simon Costain, podiatric consultant