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Researchers find new solution for foot blisters

Tuesday 17th May 2016
Simple paper tape could help to prevent painful foot blisters, new research has found. Image: Halfpoint via iStock
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Podiatrists treating patients with recurrent, painful or infected blisters on the feet may wish to recommended that they use paper tape as a preventative method.

New research carried out by doctors from Stanford University's School of Emergency Medicine led to the discovery that simple, cheap masking tape can prove effective at preventing blisters even for endurance athletes who run up to 50 miles per day.

What's more, this easy method worked for those running in extremely hot places, such as Chile, where the feet were naturally significantly more sweaty.

Grant Lipman, lead author of the study, explained: "People have been doing studies on blister prevention for 30 or 40 years and never found anything easy that works. I wanted to look at this critically."

Along with a team of colleagues, Mr Lipman monitored 128 athletes participating in a 155-mile six-part race around the world's deserts, which included such extreme climates as the Gobi desert and hot, open plains in Jordan and Madagascar.

The researchers applied paper tape to the runners' feet before the race started, either in the areas known to be prone to blisters or just randomly if the athlete had no history of blisters.

Following seven days and 155 miles of running, the doctors found that blisters were significantly less prevalent where the masking tape had been applied. In total, 98 out of the 128 runners had no blisters beneath their tape. However, 81 developed painful blisters on the parts of their feet that had not been protected by the tape.

In light of these results, the study authors are recommending that podiatrists and chiropodists recommend paper tape as a blister prevention method instead of more expensive alternatives, as it has proved just as effective.

Mr Lipman commented: "It's kind of a ridiculously cheap, easy method of blister prevention."

Written by Angela Newbury

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