Slightly wounded ultrarunner needs Nurse Nancy.
September 3, 2010 3:39 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend is a long distance runner and quite serious about it. He's been training for the Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks this September. He's developed a serious blister on his heel however...

It's on the bottom of the foot and acquired it yesterday while blasting down a scree slope. It's about the size of a half dollar and he cut it open and drained it last night. I want to be as helpful as I can since it needs to be healed as much as possible by the 18th. What's the best way to dress it? Should we cut away the dead stuff? Use liquid bandaids? Any advice from long distance runners or ultrunners with experience in this area will be especially appreciated.
posted by madred to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Band-Aid Blister Advanced Healing bandages are excellent. I had a big, half-dollar size blister in the well of skin between my thumb and forefinger that kept breaking open. Two days of the bandage completely closed the blister and allowed it to settle into a scar.
posted by parmanparman at 3:49 PM on September 3, 2010

I would wait a couple of days before he cuts away any dead skin if at all. It's going to be really raw underneath and he'll want to protect that skin. I developed a blister on top of a blister on one of my toes. What I did was drain the blister using a sterilized needle around the edges of the blister NOT from the center of the blister. I had to do this several times because it kept... recharging. I used liquid bandaid to attempt to seal it off but it kept peeling or breaking apart. I never had to cut away the dead skin because it hardened and is now flaking off.

Good luck to him on the Equinox Marathon! That is one impressive course elevation profile.
posted by collocation at 4:18 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hikers and chefs know all about blisters, too!

-Don't cut off the dead stuff for now, I think. Get rid of the dead stuff when it totally stops oozing.

-That Band-Aid product sounds awesome. Neosporin, for sure. Give training a rest for 2 days while healed skin develops.

-Maybe try wicking under-socks, then SmartWool sox on top of those to keep sweat away from the healing skin once he begins to train again. Short showers in the meantime... dry feet are key to speed healing.

-Speaking of keeping things dry, do change the bandage often. Wear flip flops or similar as much as possible. To sleep at night, clean feet + Neosporin + bare feet + no bandage.

To summarize: speed-healing the wound takes a fine balance of clean + protection + allowing the wound air from time to time.

YMMV, but I have a surprising lack of scarring on my hands and arms, considering all the nasty nasty (burn-related) blisters I've had there. Once, on my first wilderness hiking/backpacking trip, my feet blistered so badly they bled! I've learned a lot since those experiences.**

**In the future, the minute he feels a "hotspot" on his feet - DUCT TAPE. Blister prevention is 99% of the battle. Good luck in the race!
posted by jbenben at 4:36 PM on September 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

John Vohnoff is the blister king. His blog has a ton of info.
posted by poissonrouge at 5:08 PM on September 3, 2010

Two weeks is plenty of time to heal up; never cut away skin from a blister. Never pop a blister.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:14 PM on September 3, 2010

I'm a professional dancer and no stranger to blisters. Get a 2nd Skin Blister Kit from a sporting goods store--it works even faster than the Bandaid Blister things. 2nd Skin is a wound dressing made primarily from water and it will allow you to go from the "weeping with pain" stage to the "back in action" (functional, but not completely healed) stage overnight. The kit also comes with sticky foam padding to put around the blister site to keep it from irritation while it finishes healing.

I've tried everything for blisters and this is the best that I've found. Bandaid blister bandages are a righteous second.
posted by corey flood at 5:51 PM on September 3, 2010

Don't cut the skin away until the new skin is done healing underneath. Tape it up when doing activity but let it air out when at home/overnight. Some people swear by vitamin E (buy the capsule kind, and break it open to get the oil and apply directly to ouch-part of the blister) for healing blisters and broken skin quickly. But two weeks should be enough for it to get better as long as it doesn't get compounded by further wear, or infected. Also, you're a sweet girlfriend for being willing to get up close and personal with you boyfriend's feet!
posted by hepta at 6:02 PM on September 3, 2010

As soon as he is back in training get hold of some Bodyglide, and coat your feet before each run.
posted by moochoo at 8:06 AM on September 4, 2010

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