So, your new pair of shoes looks great, however: it is not a good idea to put them on without running them in beforehand (whether it is for running a marathon, a 6-hour hike or just going to a wedding).
HOW TO TREAT A BLISTER
If the friction zone is red but the skin has not yet come off
Carefully cool the affected area and apply a thick coating of moisturising cream.
If an off-white or reddish blister (also known as a friction burn) forms
If the skin is not torn, the skin must be disinfected and the liquid drained using a single-use sterile syringe so that the unstuck skin can be gently smoothed down. Ideally, leave the foot uncovered so that the skin can dry and drain any additional liquid if needed. If you have to put your shoes on afterwards, disinfect the blister again and cover it with a healing dressing (hydrocolloid, “tulle gras” dressing, etc.). As a last resort, you can dry the skin using aqueous eosin but this should be avoided because the red colouring prevents you from seeing any additional infection.
If the blister is torn
If the skin is torn open and cannot be smoothed down, it must be disinfected and the bits of skin removed using sterile tools. The rest of the treatment is the same as above.
The dressing must be placed on clean and dry skin after having dried the healthy skin where the dressing is to be placed with rubbing alcohol 70% if possible. The self-adhesive strip must be elasticated in both directions so that it conforms to the movements of the foot. It must be slightly stretched out during application so that it does not crease. Otherwise, the dressing may come unstuck and create a new friction burn!
If ever the blistered surface is more substantial covering more than one quarter of the foot or if the friction burns pile up one above the other, it is more advisable to consult your GP or a specialist.
In any case, great care needs to be taken to disinfect the blisters, given that the inside of the shoe is not the most hygienic of environments.
HOW TO AVOID BLISTERS
The Choice of Footwear
As soon as you have chosen your footwear, you need to stack the odds in your favour to avoid friction burns.Of course, you must try them on, at the end of the day if possible so that the feet are already slightly swollen.The foot must be perfectly comfortable in the shoe without any pressure or friction points. Above all, do not be misled into thinking that the shoe will adapt to the shape of your foot.
You should then avoid wearing new shoes for long periods. Preferably, wear them in gradually to soften them and check that there is no discomfort.
If, despite this running-in period the discomfort has not disappeared, a protective adhesive can be applied for preventive purposes.
The Choice of Socks
For running, your socks must be fine and ventilated in order to evacuate perspiration and moisture. They must be in the right size and, if possible, asymmetric for a better fit. They must be elasticated in the mid-foot section so that they stay in place and do not crease. There are also socks made of materials that reduce the risk of friction burns.
It is also worth thinking about getting a pair of gaiters that will prevent sharp stones and other debris from getting into your shoes when running on trails.
Preparing Your Feet
You have agreed to run in an event that, given its length and conditions (heat, humidity), is likely to cause friction burns on your feet. The best is to toughen up the skin to make it soft and durable. This is done by smearing lemon juice and applying a moisturising cream to your feet on alternate days, starting three weeks before the event. There are also some special methods that can be used to toughen up your feet.
Before and during the event, you can apply a thick coat of moisturising cream to your feet, except if the event is run in wet or sandy conditions. If possible, change your socks, and possibly even your shoes, during the event.
This advice should, we hope, quickly bring back the enjoyment of running 🙂
Article written by Frédéric Delval, chiropodist and running enthusiast.
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