A new study from Stanford University suggests that there is a cheaper, easier method of preventing blisters.
Are you a serial jogger dealing with the ever-frustrating problem of foot blisters? Buying a customized pair of running sneakers can be expensive, and blisters can make many people’s favorite exercise activity painful and far from enjoyable. According to a report from the New York Times, however, there could finally be an easy solution to the lingering problem of blisters.
Blisters affect roughly 40 percent of marathon runners, and are the leading cause of people dropping out of a race before completion. Blisters are created by friction, usually caused by an area of the foot being exposed to an unforgivable surface within a runner’s shoe. The top layers of the skin on the affected area begin to separate from one another, filling up with fluid as the friction continues.
Blisters are the bane of a jogger’s existence, and can be quite painful. There have been a number of recommendations to reduce the likelihood of getting a debilitating blister, from wearing cotton socks, to coating the feet with lotion, antiperspirant, or even petroleum jelly. Few of these methods worked, and in some cases, they even made blisters worse for a large number of runners.
Dr. Grant S. Lipman, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford University says that blisters don’t discriminate – they happen to just about everyone. Dr. Lipman’s recent study shows that simply wrapping areas of the feet that are at a high risk of developing a blister with simple paper surgical tape, the kind found in most first aid kits, can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing the painful after-effect.
The study, published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, showed that nearly 130 high-intensity runners agreed to wrap certain parts of their feet with surgical tape as they ran a marathon across sections of Jordan, Madagascar and the Gobi and Atacama deserts. After running almost 200 miles, most of the runners reported that the only blisters present on the feet were in areas that weren’t covered by the surgical tape. The overwhelming majority of participants had no blisters on sections of their feet that were covered in tape.
So next time you set out for a run, remember that spending a few minutes wrapping up sensitive areas with paper surgical tape could save you from a painful blister later on.
A press release from Stanford University describing the details of the study can be found here.