Blisters... (Part 2) Prevention During Events
by Nancy Shura-Dervin
There are several prophylactic measures one can take before a race to prevent or minimize blisters.
Wear moisture wicking socks: These tend to be 100% polyester that allow the material to dry more quickly than cotton material thus helping to keep your feet dry. Some runners like to wear a thin polyester sock liner under a heavier running sock; the theory being that the thin sock will wick moisture away from the feet into the heavier sock. Be sure your socks have smooth seams if any, so as to reduce friction. To prevent blisters involving the toes, Injinji makes a toesock that has passed the tests by runners, including myself, for more than 10-years at the Badwater 135-Mile Ultra Marathon. I personally endorse Injinji as the #1 sock for ultra running and I especially like them for runners who need to lube or tape toes http://www.injinji.com.
Lube Your Feet: Applying lube to your feet and/or between the toes can reduce friction that leads to blisters. A popular lube used by ultra runners is called "Hydropel". Some runners prefer "non-petroleum" lubes. Wearing Injinji toesocks also helps make applying lube easier by inverting the sock to put a dab of lube into each toe pocket.
Powder Your Feet: While some prefer lube, others prefer powder. Powder users generously powder their feet and then invert their socks to apply some powder to the inside. If you plan to try powdering your feet, I recommend you get a good medical powder such as Zeasorb https://www.google.com/search?q=zeasorb&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a.
Tape Your Feet: I am a big fan of taping for blister prevention and treatment. It is a good idea to attend a foot taping clinic or read "Fixing Your Feet" (http://www.fixingyourfeet.com/) before you start because foot taping gone bad is really bad; you can actually cause more blistering with a bad taping job! Taping should always be done with a good product called Kinesio-Tex. Kinesio-Tex is the same colorful tape you often see on runners knees however we use the beige tape for feet; it comes in widths of 1", 3" and 4". You will also need a barrier type skin prep to help the tape stick. Some runners use "tincture of benzoin" and I have used "Skin-Prep" protective wipes made by smith&nephew.
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Likewise, if you have a "problem toe" that needs taping, you can safely tape that one toe and put on the toesock resting assured that the tape will not cause friction on the toes on either side.