When you worry about getting injured from running, walking or some other part of your fitness routine, you expect it’ll be something major, like a wrenched knee or a sore back. Actually, an injury smaller than the size of a dime is more likely to take you down this summer.
I’m talking about blisters, those tiny, puss-filled hot spots that crop up on your feet, especially on the toes, heels and edges. Blisters are caused by friction and irritation, usually from something that scrapes against your foot. Some exercisers are more prone to blistering than others, but everyone is more susceptible during hot, humid and wet weather.
The best way to deal with blisters is to avoid them in the first place. Since I am insanely blister-prone myself, I have given blister prevention and maintenance a lot of thought. Here’s my three point strategy:
Footwear that’s too roomy is more often the culprit than shoes that are too tight, because your feet slide, rub and bump when there's extra space. I know some of you buy athletic shoes that don’t quite fit right in the hopes you can break them in. Mistake, mistake, mistake! Shoes should feel comfortable from the instant you take your first step until the moment you replace them. They shouldn’t require any stretching, padding or taping to make them wearable.
A properly fitting shoe has the same basic shape as your foot: It’s wide where your foot is wide and narrow where your foot is narrow. There should be about a thumbnail’s space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe when you’re standing with your weight evenly distributed and, when you lace them up, your foot should stay firmly in place without feeling like it’s in a straightjacket. Don’t risk buying if you feel even a single bumpy seam or raised stitch. Try several brands and models; there’s no one right fit for everyone.
If you’re a blister magnet, lace up using the traditional crisscross method until you reach the second to last eyelet then thread each end into the last eyelet on the same side to create loops. Next, crisscross one lace over the other and thread the ends through the opposite loop. Tighten and tie; this helps keep your foot from sliding around.