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What Can Cause Blisters on the Skin?

What Can Cause Blisters on the Skin? What Can Cause Blisters on the Skin? What Can Cause Blisters on the Skin?

Overview

Blisters are a common complaint among runners of every skill level. A blister occurs when layers of skin separate from each other, creating a space that fills with fluid, forming a blister. Many things can cause blisters when running, but most of those stem from three main problems: excessive heat, moisture and friction. In a running shoe, excess heat leads to moisture in the form of sweat, which exacerbates the friction between the foot and shoe, creating an environment in which a blister can form.

Friction

Above all, blisters stem from an exorbitant amount of friction between the foot and the shoe. During a run, a runner's stride forces the foot to slide somewhat within the shoe, which in and of itself doesn't cause a blister. The problem arises when a situation occurs that restricts the motion of the outer layers of the foot's skin. The foot's inner layers keep moving freely, while the outer layers' movement is hampered; the result is a separation between the inner and outer layers that becomes a blister.

Poorly Ventilated Shoes

Running with poorly ventilated shoes can allow heat to build up within a shoe, which causes the foot to sweat excessively. Additionally, poor ventilation doesn't allow sweat to evaporate, so sweat will build up within a shoe, increasing friction between the foot and the shoe.

Moisture-Retaining Socks

Because the moisture from sweat increases the chances of getting a blister, wearing socks that retain moisture can cause blisters as well. Socks made with a highly absorbent fabric such as cotton will hold on to moisture, keeping it between the foot and the insole, right where a blister is most likely to occur. Socks made with sweat-wicking material such as polyester or merino wool wick sweat away from the foot and allow it to evaporate, minimizing the chances of blistering.

Ill-Fitting Shoes

Shoes that don't fit well can also cause blisters; shoes that are too tight have more contact points with the foot, making more surface space for friction to occur, while shoes that are too loose will allow too much movement between the foot and the insole.

Toe Blisters

Toe blisters occur when toes rub up against each other on a run. This may stem from a tight-fitting shoe or from the shape of the runner's foot. Toe socks, which fit each toe individually like a glove, can prevent this by creating a barrier between the toes.

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