Foot Blisters Can be Prevented with Paper Tape


Foot blisters can be prevented by protecting the skin with paper tape.

BEACON TRANSCRIPTA recent study has found the most surprising solution for the foot blisters problem we are all facing, in the form of paper tape. The results will surely make millions of athletes happy.

It all started ten years ago, then emergency medicine physician Grant Lipman, MD, was working with endurance athletes. His patients were running from 25 to fifty miles each day in different parts of the globe, be it Antarctica, China or Chile.

Even though the conditions were surely harsh, the most common problem reported by the athletes was the pain caused by blisters that would appear on their feet. However, the issue does not only affect runners: all of us have developed at least some blisters during our lifetimes from the shoes we wear.

According to Lipman, none of the methods for preventing blisters did wonders, including lubricants, powders, adhesive pads, tapes or antiperspirants. This is what determined the doctor to pursue a study on the whole issue.

Together with his colleagues, Lipman discovered that paper tape that can be found in any drugstore can successfully prevent the frequency and the incidence of foot blisters. The paper needs to be applied before exercising of course.

Paper tape is usually meant for the treatment of wounds and is also known as surgical tape. Apart from preventing the apparition of blisters, it can also protect the ones you already have because it is mildly adhesive. Lipman has pointed out that

“People have been doing studies on blister prevention for 30 or 40 years and never found anything easy that works. I wanted to look at this critically.”

During his career, the doctor has witnessed not only the critical condition of athletes but also the one of military recruits, who could not even participate in basic training because of their foot blisters. After identifying paper tape as a probable solution, he set out to test his theory.

In this perspective, 128 runners were recruited to participate in the RacingThePlanet ultramarathon. The 155-mile course ran over deserts in Madagascar, Jordan and also included the Gobi Desert. Each runner had to apply paper tape to one of their feet while the other was left free. At the end of the marathon, 98 runners did not develop any blisters where the tape was applied, and 81 of them developed the wounds in untaped areas.

The findings were published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine on April 11.

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