So you’ve decided to do the Bolder Boulder or another 10K race this summer. You’ve followed your training plan. Your nutritional plan has been followed. Your two weeks away from the big race. A blister develops on the bottom of the foot or you have another foot injury. What now? The race is in jeopardy. Do I run through it, risking further injury? Do I seek medical treatment before or after the race? These are questions I often hear with runners.
Foot blisters are among the most common injuries in athletes. Over 6 million people suffer from blisters each year. Besides being, painful, blisters can alter gait, and lead to more serious injuries of the leg, knee, hip, or back. Blisters are a result from frictional forces that mechanically separate skin cells. Moist skin increases frictional forces, while very dry or very wet skin. Consider the following:
- Small blisters don’t need treatment
- Drain larger blisters without removing the roof of the blister, and cover with a band-aid
- Clean with soap and water or an anti-bacterial cleanser
- Areas prone to blisters can be covered with petroleum jelly, bag balm, or dry soap flakes
- Some people prefer nonpetroleum, anti-chafing lubricants (Body Glide, Runners Lube) in place of petroleum jelly
- Massage feet with lanolin every night for a month prior to a big walk or run
- Drying agents such as Drysol, Zeasorb, or Certain Dri will reduce moisture
- Shielding areas of the foot with a high potential for blister formation. Areas include hammertoes, bunions, tailors bunions, and the back of the heel. Products such as Band-aid Blister Block, and Dr. Scholl’s Cushion Blister Treatment are available over-the-counter in various sizes
- Socks that wick away moisture cannot be emphasized enough. DryMax and CoolMax are examples of socks that should be used.
You’ve developed swelling, numbness/tingling, and/or pain but are thinking it will go away. The next day, the same thing. The pain and swelling is getting worse. You heard and felt a pop. Should you keep running or get it checked out? What happens if the doc tells me I can’t run? Well, I’m here to tell you I ALWAYS try to find a way to keep you running unless it puts you at a risk for further, severe injury. It’s always good to at least have the source of pain checked out, listen to pros/cons of continuing, and then decide whether it’s worth the risk or not. I always try to find a way to treat the condition so the runner can continue training or run the race, then deal with the big picture afterwards. Cases of tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, or blisters can be treated while continuing to train. Metatarsal or navicular stress fractures cannot and running would need to be stopped. There are other conditions that can result in significant foot pain. I strongly believe if you’re having pain, it should at least be checked out and then YOU can make a decision to continue or not. Remember, it’s Colorado, it’s a long season.