blisters on my instep: help please!

My girlfriend has an issue with severe blistering on her right instep possibly caused by over pronation and unusual running style that only affects her right leg / foot. She's tried the usual measures, such as gate analysis at the sweat shop, new trainers based on this (over pronate) you can see her right foot visibly kicks out to the right, yet lands on her instep. At the moment she has to run with compede on her instep as she gets severe blistering even when this is used as a preventative measure, i.e. no blister when she applies the compede. She uses sports socks and has even tried using surgical spirits to harden the skin to no avail. Moisture doesnt seam to be an issue as she's only able to run short distances which wouldnt give much time for her foot to sweat - plus, moisture wicking socks are used. As she understands it is friction that is causing the blistering and that it's her arch that suffers most, so with all the above failing, she's tried removing the supporting innersole of the shoe, to remove the point of contact. This has helped however she cant help feel this is not the ideal solution and that this is just a quick fix as blisters do still form, just not as rapidly. I'm wondering if there's any advice that could help her? I'm worried that the unusual bio-mechanics of her right foot strike is the root cause and without looking at this we may not find a solution. Any advice or help greatly appreciated.


  • sounds to me as if a podiatrist might be the next best port of call.  They specialise in this sort of thing.

    Good luck


  • It might be her feet
  • I used to get terrible blisters under the arches of both of my feet a couple of years ago.  I ended up getting trainers with minimal arch support and took the insoles out and replaced them with thinner ones. This stopped the blistering, but now 3 years and 2 marathons later, the bones of my feet (in particular the tarsus bones) ache when running any distance. I'd now caution against removing insoles and support.  I'm going to a podiatrist next week to see what they say about it - I'd advise she does the same.  I'll let you know if he tells me anything of interest!

  • Hi Ian,

    There are several things you can do to help, and seeing a podiatrist (who specialises in biomechanics/gait analysis/sports injuries - like myself) is a great place to start.  It still amazes me how people take the advice of someone who works in a sports shop, over a medical professional - would you go to a milliner for a headache! (I am seriously only joking).

    You can try all of the above which are sensible ideas, hardening your skin, etc.  Wearing two pairs of socks so that the friction occurs between the socks and not between the sock and the skin (same as you would if you were hiking).  You can tape across the area prophylactically using Duct tape (several squaddies I've treated swear by it, using it on their heels - the friction occurs between the tape and the sock, not your skin)(you are actually already doing something similar but just using the compeed instead).. 

    It may be that she needs some form of orthotic intervention, which isn't being achieved by her footwear.  You would want to achieve a reduced load going through this part of the foot, reduce the shear forces and hence reduce the friction - result - no blisters - in theory.  But without seeing your girlfriend it is almost possible to speculate across the internet.

    Try that for a starter for 10 and see how you get on. 

    Ablefeet image

  • I had exactly the same problem, expecially when I'd not been running for a while and start to build up mileage again.

    I did notice though that it was far less of an issue running off road in neutral fell/trail shoes.  Having switched to a neutral shoe and more mid/forefoot running for road miles I now rarely suffer.

    I havent ended up with any injuries but may have just been lucky....had I been in a position to afford it at the time I probably would have gone to a sports podiatrist.


  • Incorrect fitting shoes -iether too big so her foot moves too much or too small so it's too tight on that part. I vaseline my feet librally for every single run -this may help

  • I suffered from that for a few years . it was just on my right instep . I used some fleece dressing that I got in the chemist . That helped but it needed a fresh pad every run . Eventually I seemed to have developed a hard lump on my instep . I changed my make of shoe being advised by running shop I had wrong shoe for my feet and fortunately the blistering has stopped . Only wish I had tried that years before instead of just thinking I had to put up with it . 

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