Blister Management. Your Opinion?

May 23, 2015 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Foot Care, Sports 

When you enter a road or trail race, or start an adventure race, or plan a group or solo event, whether single day or multi-day, do you think about blister management?

There can be many responses to this question. Here are my guesses at the most common three responses.

For many, I’d guess the answer would be no. What happens, happens. They may have a simple first aid kit or blister kit. A bit of tape, maybe a pin and an alcohol wipe.

Others, if participating in an organized event, will count on aid station personnel to have the supplies and knowledge to fix whatever problems develop. They don’t understand that some aid stations do not have the right supplies or medical people, or if they do, they have little to no understanding of how best to treat blisters.

The third bunch takes a full hands-on approach. They have a fully stocked kit and either they or their crew know how to work on feet.

Then there’s the same question put to race directors and event organizers. When you put together the plans for your race, how much thought and planning goes into foot care for the participants?

Again, I think there are three typical responses.

The first is they don’t think about it. It’s either they simply don’t even think about it or they decide to let the runners deal with whatever problems develop.

The second group puts together simple kits of typical first aid equipment and puts them out on tables at the aid stations. Most likely, no one working the aid station knows what to do, or if they do, it’s hit or miss repair. Supplies often are minimal and sometimes not even helpful. I worked an event, a long multi-day race that fell in this category. Runners were hurting.

The third group is wiser. They have medical people and a well-thought out kit. Some, at larger events, have dedicated foot care people.

I need to say here that you don’t have to be a medical person to provide good foot care. I have worked at many events where non-medical people had excellent foot care skills.

You Can Help

So here are my questions for you.

  1. As a runner or adventure racer, what do you want to see at a race?
  2. What do you expect to see?
  3. If the race website and material does not specific what kind of aid or foot care is provide, do you assume it will be there?

Here’s my reason for asking.

A few days before Western States next month, I will be presenting a session about Blister Management at the 2nd Annual Medicine & Science in Ultra-Endurance Sports Conference in Squaw Valley. Plus two hands-on workshops teaching foot care skills.

I have my presentation pretty well planned. I’ve done this long enough and have learned a lot of material and skills. But sometimes I am puzzled at what I see from the race participants. Ill-prepared runners and crews and even some dumb decisions by runners (socks with holes, brand new shoes, serious athletes foot, bad toenails, and more).

My audience will be medical personnel and race directors from many ultras and adventure type races. The aim of my presentation will be to teach them about blister management during a race.

What I need to know is a bit about your expectations about blister management at races as a runner. Send me an email. You can copy in the three questions above and answer all three or as many as you want.

Thanks for your help.

How to Get Kinesiology Tape to Stick

May 2, 2015 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Sports 

Most of you know how much I like kinesiology tape for taping feet. Over the years, I have used several brands and refined my taping skills. I can tape any part of the foot, and for any blisters or prevention desired.

As I have talked to others who tape, runners or crews, or medical people, I have heard stories of tape not sticking as well as needed. And I have seen first-hand tape coming off – generally because of a lack of skin preparation and taping skill levels.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see an article over at www.theratape.com about How to Get Kinesiology Tape to Stick – the 6 P’s of kinesiology Taping.

Kinesiology tape at the base of the big toe

Kinesiology tape at the base of the big toe

When properly applied, kinesiology tape will stick for days through all kinds of conditions. When improperly applied, it may last for less than a day, or in some cases, only a few hours.

The article at Theratape.com identifies three phases to taping: skin preparation, tape preparation and application, and wearing the tape.

Here is a summary of the three phases.

Phase 1: Skin Preparation

  • The skin must be completely dry before applying the tape
  • The skin needs to be clean

Phase 2: Tape Preparation and Application

  • Use good quality tape
  • Round the corners
  • Don’t touch the adhesive
  • Go easy on the stretch
  • All strips must end on skin, not on another piece of tape
  • Activate the adhesive

Phase 3: Wearing the Tape

  • Avoid contact at the ends

This is a very good article and you’ll learn a lot about taping with kinesiology tape. Click of the link to read How to Get Kinesiology Tape to Stick.

What you didn’t read is a few things we have learned when using the tape on feet. The typical use of kinesiology tape is for injuries to muscle and soft tissue, very different than taping feet. Once you put the tape on feet and go running through streams, dust, mud, swamps, and other adverse conditions, things change. There are more stressors on the tape and many times its applied just moments before resuming your adventure.

Here are my extra tips exclusive to taping feet:

  • Use a tape adherent on the skin
  • For extra tough cases, run a strip of tape adherent over the edges of the tape/skin
  • Apply the tape the day before your run if possible
  • Make sure you apply either a thin layer of powder or lubricant over any remaining exposed tape adherent
  • Always roll your socks on and off to avoid pulling the tape loose

While you are Threatape.com, check out their line of kinesiology tapes and supplies. Their website offers a lot of information about kinesiology tapes, information about different brands, application instructions, and videos by body part and brand. I have worked with the good folks at Theratape for several years and love their products and service. For medical professionals, they also offer a professional discount.

%d bloggers like this: