Kudos to the hard working organizers of the Steamtown Marathon! The race has been filled to maximum capacity for months. With the growing popularity of the Steamtown Marathon more and more local runners are running greater distances to train for the October event. As a result, more and more runners are asking me about blister prevention. Nothing can ruin a great run like a nagging painful blister. As you attempt to “run through” the pain, you compensate your gait in such a way that you irritate something else, such as your knee, hip or lower back. With this in mind, as many local runners prepare for this year’s marathon, I thought information on blister prevention would be of great value.
Blisters are not unusual for anyone who participates in sports that require repetition over a long period of time. Blisters occur when the skin rubs against an object causing friction to build up over time. A tear is created in the upper layers of the skin to form a space. Fluid seeps into the space. The soles of the feet and palms of the hand are the areas most vulnerable to blisters for many reasons. Hiking shoes, running sneakers, tennis rackets and golf clubs repeatedly rub the skin and form blisters.
Three things you want to do if you get a blister are: relieve pain, keep the blister from enlarging and avoid infection. Pain is relieved by, limiting the size of the blister and eliminating the source of friction. The best protection from infection is a blister’s own skin. Allow the skin to stay intact, use ice to control the fluid accumulation and eliminate further trauma to the skin. This is very effective in small blisters with minimal fluid. However, larger blisters filled with fluid may require drainage without skin removal. For blisters that require drainage, consult your podiatrist or family physician, especially if you have other health issues, such as diabetes
(This advice is also applicable to hikers and distance walkers)
GOOD LUCK TO ALL STEAMTOWN MARATHON RUNNERS!
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.