When participating in a marathon you have to bear in mind, it is not just the socks and footwear that make a difference in preventing blisters but also, the condition of the skin.

Preparing the body for a 26 miles endurance event is what athletes are expected to do, considering aerobic capacity, muscle/ tendon strength, and nutrition is a common thought process when planning and training. However, the condition of the skin on the feet is a less considered option and yet blisters on the feet can stop you in your tracks and lead to an uncompleted marathon.

Here are some useful tips on preparing the skin and nails for that important marathon

Toenail cutting

Make sure your toenails are kept short and well filed, when toenails are left long, they are more likely to knock against the front of the shoe, causing blood blisters to form under the nail and these are really painful.

Removing hard skin from the feet

Callus formation on the feet should be removed by a podiatrist before the marathon. This treatment will prevent blisters from forming underneath the hard skin, these can be incredibly painful and can stop you from completing the marathon

Preparing the skin at home.

The skin is an amazing organ and can resist many forces put upon it, the skin can only remain flexible, elastic, and resilient if it is kept in optimum condition. If neglected, the skin may crack open, blister, and present with fungal infections.

We always recommend to our patients to prepare the skin on their feet before a marathon preferably for 6-8 weeks beforehand as the skin needs to adapt to the new stresses applied to it.

Dry, cracked, poor quality skin will not adapt well to the extreme conditions that the feet might be exposed to during a marathon.

Soft, elastic skin will resist the forces applied to it, becoming more pliable, moving, and flexing with the demands that are put upon it.

When the skin is wet or dry it fails to achieve that resilience and flexibility and that's when blisters will form.

Using an exfoliant or a foot file will smooth dry flaky skin and then applying an emollient to hydrate the skin every day will optimise the skin.

Keeping to this regime every day, even just for a week you will notice a huge difference in the texture and tone of the skin on your feet. It will be smooth to the touch, and more elastic, with increased resilience to forces like pressure, friction and increased shear that running a Marathon will bring to the skin.

We love the Footmender range of creams in the clinic as it really does what it says it will, this one is particularly suitable for those people who struggle to commit to a daily application because, after a week of daily application, you can drop down to 1-2 times a week as a maintenance program.

Don’t be tempted to dry the skin out with surgical spirit or other online remedies as this will just reduce the skin's elasticity and increase the chances of foot blisters