Many people don't realise it, but running WITHOUT shoes can give you blisters too. Not the normal shoe and sock rubbing against flesh type, but rather the flesh rubbing against tar/dirt type.

At the moment, my current barefoot mileage is in the region of 10km a week, on paving/tar, broken up into 3 sessions of just over 3km each. This is just long enough for me to enjoy the freedom of running barefoot and feel when I'm doing things wrong. This is also long enough to acclimatise my feet to the rougher compounds with only a minimal amount of damage on each run.

Unfortunately, sometimes I'm a little over-eager or tired and I either run too far, too fast, or with appalling form (ie too much toeing-off) and as a result I end up with a blister on one of my toes - normally the one just next to the little toe for some reason.

Anyway, my blister treatment follows, but first a warning:

What you are about to read is not for the faint hearted or the overly protective or sensitive types who want to drench things in anti-bac spray and then wrap in cotton wool to keep them safe and sound.

If you're a barefoot runner, or interested in running barefoot (hence you're reading this) this isn't likely to be you, but it may just be your other half/mother/GP etc, so best not perform this in front of them or let them know about this. I know my wife gets very squeamish so I have to do this when she's not about.

Right, now we've got that out of the way, we can get down to the nitty gritty...

  1. Wash your foot with warm soapy water. You don't need to get all fancy with soaks or anti-bacterial or antiseptic soaps, just good ol' plain soap will do the trick
  2. Hobble (you don't want to make your foot dirty) over to your wife's/mother's/grandma's/your sewing kit and take out a thin sewing needle
  3. Sterilize the needle by either heating it up with a candle/lighter or dipping it in antiseptic liquid. I don't worry too much about this and just hold the needle in my mouth whilst I perform the next step. Sssh, don't tell my wife or my mum, they'll both have a heart-attack at my sterilization techniques
  4. Cut a length of cotton - any colour will do, but some say white is best. I quite like red 🙂. The length isn't too important either, it just needs to be long enough for a little bit of threading
  5. Thread your now sterilized needle and arm yourself - we're going in...
  6. Locate your blister and slide your threaded needle right through the length of it until it comes out the other side. Be sure to leave the thread going through the blister with a length protruding on either side. This will be the wick used to drain all the moisture out.
  7. Mop up any liquid that may have seeped out and gently press down on your blister to help drain it.
  8. Trim the length of thread, if you need to. About 1cm either side of the blister should be plenty.

That's it. You're done.

Things will be a little sensitive for the first few hours, but you'll soon forget about it. Within a couple of days, you should find your blister will have healed, without any loss of skin and the thread will have worked it's way out all by itself. You may even find you can run on it within 24 hours, so your training shouldn't be affected too much.

I'm really not sure where I first heard this, but ever since trying it many many years ago as a kid, I've stuck with it. I don't know of a more effective and quicker treatment for blisters.