How to Treat (and Prevent) Running Blisters

Morning Workout

– 7 miles, easy pace

I got a great run in this morning. My workout schedule called for doing 7 miles yesterday and 4 today, but my feet were uncomfortable yesterday thanks to my blisters (more on that later in the post), so I ended up aborting the run around 3.5, and switching the 7 miles to today.  I usually turn right when I leave my house and run the same path when I run outside, but this morning, I decided to turn left and see where that took me.  I found out that the new path was much hillier than I’m used to, so it was great for training! It was a beautiful run past parks and residential neighborhoods.  Tomorrow’s my day off from running, and I’m looking forward to sleeping in past 6 ;)

Let’s Talk Blisters

I must have been really lucky last year, because I didn’t suffer a single injury or blister while training for my first marathon.  This year, I’ve suffered a bunch of minor injuries – tendonitis, bone bruise from falling, and now blisters galore on my feet.  So, what to do when you have a running blister or two?

– If it’s painful, you can pop it with a sterile needle and allow it to drain.  But apparently, if it is a blood blister (dark red or nearly black in color, as mine were), you run a higher chance of infection so popping isn’t recommended.  I’m squeamish about that anyway!

– If it’s a bad blister and it hurts to run, consider taking a day or two off to let it heal.  You don’t want a blister to affect your form.


1. Protect the blister with a bandage.  There are all sorts of great bandaids made specifically for blisters that are designed to stay in place for a few days and speed the healing.  I’ve tried both the Bandaid brand and Spenco, and found that both stay in place pretty well (about 2 days) and prevent additional injury to the blistered area while running (a blister on your blister? Not fun).

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2. If the blister is big and you don’t want to pop it, put a layer or two of moleskin on your foot and cut a hole to accommodate the blister.  That will cushion it from the pressure of your shoes.



There are definitely steps you can take to prevent blisters from forming! I intend to try ALL of these :) Blisters form when socks/ shoes rub your feet constantly and create “hot spots”, and are especially prone to forming when your skin is moist (creates extra friction), so these all aim to reduce hot spots and/or moisture.

1. Wear wicking socks! 100% cotton socks are not your friend.  You’ll have to figure out what works best for you; I found that Adidas Climacool socks work great for me (we buy giant packs at Costco), but Thorlo socks, which some runners swear by, destroyed my feet.

2. To reduce friction while running, try rubbing blister-prone areas on your feet with vaseline or bodyglide.

3. If you have super sweaty feet, sprinkle some baby powder inside your socks to absorb the moisture.

4. Make sure your shoes are sized correctly! Keep in mind that if you’re running long distances, your feet will swell, so you might want to buy shoes about 1/2 a size larger than what fits perfectly.  This also helps prevent black toenails :) I have a normal pair of sneakers for my shorter runs (size 6) and a larger pair of sneakers for long runs (size 7).

5. Be sure to hydrate before and while running (especially in hot weather!) to limit how much your feet swell! I didn’t know about this tip, and I still can’t figure out the science behind it, but apparently if you’re dehydrated, your feet and hands swell that much more.  Considering that I can’t put my wedding ring on for several hours after a 10 mile run, I can probably stand to drink a little more water!

Happy running! Question for you all – does anyone else regularly get offers to join AARP? I thought you have to be 60+ to join…but I get mail from them at least once a month.  It’s a little disheartening.  But how tempting is that mini day bag.024



2 thoughts on “How to Treat (and Prevent) Running Blisters

  1. Althought it’s very painful to treat, it can be done to avoid infection further. Blisters are minor skin disease and can be treated at home. There are effective home remedies on how to get rid of blisters. Such remedies include apple cider vinegar, use of duct tape, oatmeal, aloe vera and more. You can even use over the counter medications to help speed up the healing of the wound. You can read the full article here:

  2. Pingback: Unfiltered Thursday + Giving Back (Lent 2014) | sneaker∙therapy

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