Other Blister Solutions
Some athletes get blisters no matter what type of socks they wear. Others are triathletes looking for fast transitions without socks. Now what?
Four categories to combat blisters include lubricants, powders, hydration and taping.
Lubricants and Powders
Interestingly, it has been found that rubbing on "moist" skin produces more friction than rubbing either very wet or very dry skin. Lubricants help reduce friction by keeping skin-to-skin or skin-to-shoe areas wet and slick.
Powders and antiperspirants work in an opposite manner to reduce friction by keeping feet very dry. Lightly apply an over-the-counter powder or antiperspirant directly to your clean and dry feet.
Keeping your body appropriately hydrated prevents foot swelling and keeps feet and toes from rubbing on your shoes. Additionally it prevents swollen toes from rubbing on each other. If you over-hydrate and take in excess sodium, fluid retention causes your toes and feet to swell and increases the likelihood for friction.
If you are dehydrated and lose too much sodium from sweating, oddly, you end up retaining fluids in your hands and feet which causes swelling.
Avoid blisters caused by swollen feet by keeping your fluid and electrolyte levels balanced.
With the hydration issue under control, athletes that do not like lubricants or powders swear by taping—with duct tape. Athletes place a piece of duct tape over any "hot spots" caused by their shoes. Duct tape is one of the favorite tapes used by ultra-distance runners because it is strong, tough and available at any hardware store and many grocery stores.
There are other tapes that can be used such as Elastikon, Hypafix, Endurasports and Leukotape to name a few. Some athletes prefer a specific tape for a particular area of the foot. For example, some prefer a different tape for toes than for heels. Honing in on the tape that is right for you may take some investigation and experimentation.
Your foot needs to be clean and dry before attempting to apply any adhesive tape. Know that there are some skin preparation sprays on the market that can help tape stay in place in various environmental conditions.
It's also good to have a blister first aid kit handy.
Blisters Be Gone
With some knowledge and preventative action, you and your feet can be active with no concern for blisters ending your fun.
Find the right pair of socks for your sport.
Gale Bernhardt was the USA Triathlon team coach at the 2003 Pan American Games and 2004 Athens Olympics. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Games in Sydney. She currently serves as one of the World Cup coaches for the International Triathlon Union's Sport Development Team. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale's pre-built, easy-to-follow cycling and triathlon training plans. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.