Blisters are not only extremely painful, but they can also ruin the following days. Whether you are a hiker, runner, or participate in obstacle runs, blisters seem almost inevitable, just like muscle pain. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the chance of getting blisters, and you might even be able to prevent blisters altogether while running or walking. In this article, we will explain exactly what blisters are, how you get them, how you can prevent blisters, and how to take care of your feet if you do get blisters. Let’s get to it!

What are blisters?

Almost everyone has had blisters at some point, and we can all agree on one thing: blisters are incredibly annoying. But what exactly are blisters? Blisters are small fluid-filled sacs that form when the outer layer of your skin gets damaged due to friction, heat, or pressure. They can vary in size and can be quite bothersome, especially when they appear in areas that experience a lot of movement, such as your feet. They can even cause infections if not treated properly.

 

So how can you prevent blisters from ruining your plans? How can you prevent or reduce the chance of getting blisters? That's exactly what we're going to tell you more about in this article. So let's dive right in!

How do you get blisters?

If your skin constantly rubs against something, such as wearing tight or unsuitable shoes while walking or running, it can cause blisters. Prolonged pressure on a specific area of the skin, such as wearing too tight shoes or unsuitable socks, can also cause blisters. During an obstacle run, your obstacle run shoes can also get wet, which can cause additional irritation. In general, blisters form as a reaction of the skin to protect itself from injury or irritation. They form a kind of cushion between the skin and the source of irritation, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt!

 

This is how you prevent blisters!

To prevent blisters, you need to ensure that your feet don't experience too much friction or pressure... But how do you do that? We have put together a handy checklist for you to consider during training, running, or participating in an obstacle run.

 

  1. Wear well-fitting shoes: Choose shoes that fit comfortably and snugly. Make sure they provide enough support and there is enough room for your toes. It's also important that they dry quickly if they get wet during obstacle runs! Another good tip: Bring along comfortable and dry shoes for after the run!
  2. Wear moisture-wicking socks: Opt for moisture-wicking socks that draw sweat away and help prevent your feet from getting wet. Wet feet increase the risk of blister formation! For an obstacle run, also bring along dry socks so you can change into them after the run.
  3. Use anti-friction cream or sports tape: Apply a thin layer of Vaseline or anti-friction cream to areas where you expect a lot of friction, such as your heels or toes. You can also opt for sports tape to prevent blisters!
  4. Ensure proper hydration: Did you know that dehydration can lead to an increased risk of blister formation? Therefore, make sure to drink enough water before, during, and after training!
  5. Let your feet adjust: Your feet may need time to adjust to new shoes, socks, and different types of terrain during running or walking. Walk regularly on different types of terrain, such as grass, sand, and gravel, to strengthen your feet and adapt to various surfaces.

Here's how to treat blisters!

You've done your best to prevent blisters, but now you're walking around with painful feet... Terribly annoying, but it happens. The next step, to ease the pain and expedite the recovery process, is to treat the blisters. Often, people start picking at them or puncturing them, which can cause the blister to burst and become an open wound: this can lead to inflammation and infections. But how can you best treat a blister? Let's take a look!

 

Leave the blister intact: If possible, leave the blister undisturbed. Don't pick at it, as this may cause it to become infected and worsen the situation! The skin covering the blister helps it heal properly. Avoid further friction or pressure on the blister. If possible, wear open-toed shoes or other comfortable shoes that do not irritate the area. You can also place a sterile gauze over the blister to prevent additional friction. This also prevents dirt from getting into the wound if the blister does happen to burst.

 

Draining a blister if it's causing significant discomfort: Are you experiencing a lot of discomfort from the blister? Or do you think it's about to burst? In that case, you can carefully drain the friction blister yourself. Make sure to do this in a hygienic manner. Clean the blister and the surrounding skin thoroughly with antiseptic, use a sterile needle (disinfected with rubbing alcohol), and puncture the blister in two places (at the edge of the blister). Now you can gently press out the fluid with a sterile gauze. Then cover the blister with a sterile bandage.

 

Infected blister: Is your blister infected? Stay away from it! If necessary, contact your doctor. This will prevent the infection from getting worse and causing you even more discomfort!

 

The above tips are based on the guidelines of the Dutch Red Cross. 

Preventing blisters during Strong Viking

During Strong Viking, you can also get blisters, so make sure you're well-prepared! Are your shoes comfortable? Do you have the right clothing for the obstacle run? Have you trained properly? And most importantly: do you have your ticket already? If not, check the obstacle run calendar and quickly secure your spot at one of our events! Already got your ticket? Then we wish you lots of fun and hope you don't get any blisters 😉