The Science-Backed Trick to Prevent Blisters

Blisters: If you’re a runner, you’ve definitely had your fair share of them, and you’ve probably tried about a bazillion tricks to prevent them. Fancy socks! Petroleum Jelly! Moleskin patches! Powders! And you probably got blisters anyway. But lucky for all of us, a new study out of Stanford (Yes: A study on how to prevent blisters), published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, seems to have found the trick to preventing blisters: paper tape. Yep, like the kind you get at CVS.

As The New York Times reports, after a number of small studies into blister prevention found that many of the popular methods out there — petroleum jelly and moleskin patches, to name two — don’t really work, the researchers of this new study set out to find what does. The lead researcher, Dr. Grant S. Lipman, had heard that some ultramarathoners wrap parts of their feet with paper tape to steer clear of painful blisters on runs, so he decided to put that method to the test: He had 130 ultramarathoners wrap their feet with paper tape in the areas where they usually get blisters, and if they weren’t prone to blisters, they wrapped their feet at random. Then they ran.

In the end — after running 200 miles (!!) — while the runners did still get blisters, most of them (70 percent) were on parts of the foot not covered by tape. They found the tape had reduced the runners’ incidence of blisters by 40 percent. Impressive, right? And most of the runners reported that they planned to continue using the paper-tape method to prevent blisters after the study was over.

There was one pretty big issue, though: Paper tape isn’t super sticky, so the runners had to re-tape their feet a number of times throughout the 200 miles. That said, most people aren’t running 200 miles on a regular basis. So, next time you run, you might try resorting to paper tape to keep your feet happy!

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