Summer can be one of the best times of year to dedicate yourself to reaching your fitness goals. Maybe you’re motivated to walk in a local 5K with your friends and family, maybe you’re gearing up for your first fall marathon, or maybe you’re simply inspired to go on extra-long walks in the evening so you can truly savor the sunset. No matter what is keeping you going this season, it’s important to remember that something as simple as a small blister on your foot can quickly derail your exercise regimen. Initially, when you feel the familiar stinging of a blister on your foot, you might be tempted to put it out of your mind and tell yourself that the pain will pass if you just don’t pay attention. However, if you ignore a growing blister, it can quickly escalate into a major problem that could sideline you from your regular exercise for the rest of the summer. Read on for some strategies that you can use to combat blisters so that you can continue to enjoy a summer of fun and fitness.
Potential Sources of Blisters on Your Feet
Summer offers lots of opportunities for exercise, ranging from family hikes to 5Ks to weekend trail runs. However, these same opportunities can also put your feet in circumstances that often lead to blisters, including the following:
- New / unfamiliar shoes. When your dedicate yourself to exercise in the summer, one of the things you can do to solidify your commitment is to get new shoes. Depending on your summer activities, you might also find yourself putting on shoes from the back of your closet that you’re just not used to wearing, such as hiking boots or trail running shoes. Even if new shoes seem comfortable in the store, or if your old hiking boots have kept you blister-free in the past, there’s still a higher chance that you’ll get a blister in these shoes than in the training shoes you’re used to. With new shoes, make sure you test them out in clean, dry conditions for the first few days, just in case you need to return them to the store. And before you go on a big hike, take your old hiking books for a walk around the block to make sure they won’t rub you wrong.
- Higher training volume. If summer means hiking, walking, or running more than you usually do, you inevitably put yourself at a higher risk of blisters. Be careful to monitor your training levels and to make sure that you’re not overworking your body by increasing your training volume too quickly. It can also be helpful to get a regular chiropractic adjustment to keep your body in alignment. When your spine is misaligned, the accompanying changes in your walking or running motion can put pressure on different parts of your feet that aren’t accustomed to the stress–often leading to nasty blisters–and that’s even more likely at higher training volumes.
- Repetitive foot motions. In summer, you might decide to opt for the air-conditioned gym instead of getting outdoors for your workout. Not only can it be safer (and more comfortable) to exercise in a cool, climate-controlled atmosphere, but working out in the gym can also be a great way to catch up on your favorite guilty-pleasure TV shows or podcasts! However, when you’re on a treadmill, there’s less variation in the terrain than there is when you’re outside, which means that your feet will be repeating the same motions, over and over–even more than they would if you were just walking or jogging down the sidewalk. You can combat this problem by varying the speed and incline of your treadmill and by periodically mixing up your workout by trying out other forms of exercise, like weight training or a yoga session.
Choosing Custom Foot Orthotics Over Generic Insoles
Just like your shoes themselves, your insoles may end up causing you to develop a blister. That’s especially likely if you’re using a generic insole. Generic insoles claim to be able to help you with common foot motion-related problems, like over-pronation and supination, but the reality is that they are not truly tailored to the needs of your feet. Plus, they may end up giving you painful blisters that will put you even further behind on your training goals. Therefore, if you’re plagued by blisters but still need extra foot support, you may want to get fitted for custom orthotics. With custom orthotics, a well-trained health professional can conduct a thorough evaluation of your feet to create an insole that is ideal for you. Not only can custom orthotics meet your foot motion-related needs, but it also won’t rub you wrong and give you blisters. Therefore, they are a far more effective (and less blister-risky) solution for foot issues than generic insoles.
When you’re thinking about what to put in your training, shoes, you might also want to consider using moisture-wicking socks alongside your custom orthotics. The heat of the Atlanta summer inevitably means that every part of your body will be sweating more–including your feet. Moisture wicking socks can draw the sweat away from your feet, which simultaneously reduces the risk of blister development and lowers your chances of developing an infection in an existing blister.
Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness is eager to do everything we can to help you meet your summer exercise goals. We offer chiropractic and massage services, as well as custom orthotics and nutritional supplements. Contact us today for more information!