If you haven’t collected running blisters yet, expect some on race day! Blisters aren’t just annoying, but they can also harm your performance. If you’re dealing with running blisters, here are a few ways you can treat those pesky sore spots and prevent more from appearing.

What causes running blisters?

Running, obviously, but more specifically running with poorly fitting shoes. Running shoes that are too small or too large are the main cause of blisters. The friction and rubbing from your poorly fitting shoes mixed with the sweaty socks on your feet cause your top layer of skin to move over the underlying tissue. This causes a red spot that eventually becomes the fluid-filled sac that we all know best as a blister.

How do you treat running blisters?

Most blisters can be taken care of on your own at home. One option to prevent the blister from filling is to apply an adhesive bandage to the vulnerable area. If your blister has already appeared, you may have to pop it before you find any relief. Make sure to take necessary precautions to prevent infection, including thoroughly washing your hands, sterilizing a needle in a flame (remember Parent Trap?), and applying antibiotic ointment after the fluid is drained. Be sure to cover the area with gauze or gel dressing once popped. You may need to stay off of your blister for a few days after popping it to prevent the sore from getting worse.

How can you prevent blisters from ever showing up?

The best solution for preventing blisters is to wear a properly fitting pair of shoes and a pair of moisture wicking socks. This will prevent the skin from reaching irritation and from rubbing against itself. You can also wear sock liners or powder your feet and socks before your run to keep them dry and free of sticking moisture.