Whether you’re a new runner excited to rock your colorful running shoes, in training mode for your next epic race or are gearing up to do a ton of walking on your weekend trip to DC, there are few things that’ll bring you more pain than blistered feet. Ouch! Most often caused by your skin rubbing against a sock or shoe, we recently read about a totally doable way to prevent blisters from happening: Wrap your feet with paper tape. Say what?
The super simple solution was originally discovered by marathon runners, who told the director of the Wilderness Medical Program at Stanford, Dr. Grant Lipman, that the ultra-thin and breathable paper tape was the only thing that helped them avoid blisters. After conducting a formal study, Dr. Lipman found that the runners’ rave reviews are totally founded.
For the official study, Dr. Lipman and his team observed a group of 130 male and female ultra-marathoners (whoa) who had their feet wrapped right before the first stage of a race began. Researchers applied the paper tape in areas where the runners who had suffered in the past showed they were most prone to suffer. For runners without a blistered history, the researchers used paper tape on random parts of their feet. Looking at the covered parts in comparison with uncovered parts, Dr. Lipman and his team were able to observe the major impact of the tape after the runners had covered 200 miles.
Maybe “major impact” is an understatement. Their findings were amazing: About 70 percent of blisters showed up where paper tape WASN’T applied. When the study concluded, it was evident that the taping tactic had a powerful effect, reducing overall blisters by at least 40 percent. And despite the fact that paper tape needed to be re-applied from time to time during the longer runs, most of the runners said it worked so well that they’d definitely use it in their next race. Wow!
Game to try it for your own on-foot activities? You can find the inexpensive paper tape in most first-aid kids or the bandage section of a drugstore. Then, all you need to do is cut slim strips and wrap them around the places where you get blisters. If you’re not sure where that is, wrap your toes and ankles — they’re the most common spots. Good to know: You can also place the tape on blisters you already have, since it’s super breathable and doesn’t have an adhesive that might tear off skin like a Band-Aid does. Once you’re wrapped up, slip your feet into a pair of well-fitting kicks and you’ll be on your way, pain-free!
Will you try paper tape for your next run or long day of walking? Tweet us about how it goes @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)