Anyone who frequently engages in physical activity will have to contend with a blister sooner or later. However, the following home remedies can help prevent friction blisters:
Buy shoes in the afternoon. Pounding the pavement all day can cause your feet to swell by as much as half a shoe size, so you'll want to do your shoe shopping when your feet are likely to be at their largest. Another tip: When trying on shoes, wear the same type of socks that you plan to use with the shoes.
Look for leather. Unlike nonporous vinyl and plastic materials, leather has microscopic pores that allow air to circulate, keeping the foot drier. The clusters of perforated holes primarily found on many styles of sports footwear serve the same purpose. Remember: A dry foot is less likely to develop blisters.
Break it in, if you must. Ideally, a shoe should fit well and feel comfortable when you try it on. Often, however, new shoes have stiff areas that take time to soften up. While you may be tempted to wear the new pair right away, your best bet is to break them in gradually. Wear them for limited amounts of time, switching to your old pair of shoes in between.
Don't exercise at midday. The heat of midday, especially in the summer, can make the feet perspire more, making them more blister-prone.
Never wear wet shoes. The wetness can cause more "dragging" between the foot and shoe and can result in blisters. If you jog twice a day, for instance, you may want to have two pairs of shoes, one that you wear for your first run of the day and another for the second; this way, each pair has more time to dry out.
Protect "hot spots." If you have a chronic "hot spot," or place where blisters tend to develop, apply petroleum jelly to it, then slip on your sock. Used alone, adhesive foam or felt pads (sometimes called moleskin), can also absorb the friction and protect a hot spot. For best results, make sure the padding covers more area than you think a blister would take up, since the neighboring areas can become irritated, too.
Wear the right socks. Specially made sport socks with extra padding in typical hot spots can help prevent blisters. Natural fibers such as cotton and wool tend to keep the feet dry by absorbing moisture. However, some research suggests that acrylic fibers may, through a wicking action, move moisture away from the foot, actually keeping it drier and making it less prone to blistering. Your best bet? Try them both to see which type of fiber keeps your feet drier and more comfortable. In addition, be sure the sock fits your foot, so it doesn't bunch up inside the shoe and cause a blister.
Try a sprinkle. Foot powders may aid in keeping the foot dry and preventing painful blisters.
A blister can turn a pleasant walk into a painful ordeal. But using the home remedies outlined in this article means you're putting your best foot forward in avoiding this pesky problem.
For more information about blisters and how to combat them, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- To learn about coping with boils, read Home Remedies for Boils.
- To read about athlete's foot, another exercise-related nuisance, go to Home Remedies for Athlete's Foot.
- Or to combat calluses and corns, check out Home Remedies for Calluses and Corns.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.