Bye bye callous exterior, hello hope of remedy!

All in all I’ve been running for a good 2.5 years now; the last 18 months being increasingly serious and where most gains have been made and in that time, I think I’ve ended pretty much every run with a blister of some size or description – from the purely cosmetic to the downright gargantuan. Whilst under normal circumstances they are no more than a familiar memento of proceedings, I have come to realise that they may well ultimately become my nemesis and the one thing to thwart my marathon efforts, so the time has come to seek the opinion of a professional in the hope to abolish the critters so I can maintain my attention on more productive matters…

Enter Keith, a local professional chiropodist and podiatrist and very nice chap to boot (pardon the pun). After explaining my efforts so far to understand and cure my affliction – from gait analysis to shoe selection, sock experimentation to lubrication application – an examination was the order of the day and the results were an education.

First of all, my standing gait is good. For an over-pronator, my feet have good natural positioning. I can count my blessings, at least, for having a normal arch and no significant bio-mechanical unusualness. I kinda knew that, but it’s reassuring to have another professional opinion to confirm my understanding.

Secondly, consecutive blister-building over dozens of runs has resulted in what was regarded as quite a build-up of toughened skin in the affected areas. This is where my first lesson was learned – whilst the initial build-up was no-doubt caused by increased pressure and friction at some point, the presence of it now only serves to compound the issue and my confession of chronic blistering was not surprising. Similarly, my belief that the extra thickness was now in some way protective is completely unfounded. The remedy? Removal. From the moment of realisation that the shiny thing being taken out of that packet was in fact a scalpel blade, before I could say “potato peeler” my feet (and associated short-term future running prospects) were quite literally in the hands of a man I’d known for barely 10 minutes as he gradually carved away with steady reciprocation at my familiar translucent running trophies, temporarily reducing me me to a human Scraperfoil while I waited anxiously for the painful indication that a little too much had been removed. Thankfully, this was not to come…

The next learning lesson was counter-intuitive to say the least. Several people have advised up to now to harden my feet up by various methods under the premise that hard skin = blister resilience. Seemed to make sense. The contradicting professional advice, however, was that soft is best and a brief narration into the difference in flexibility and susceptibility for cracking between dry and moist leather served only to uphold the theory that when it comes to long-term endurance, supple wins hands down over impenetrability. Confusingly, this too seemed to make perfect sense. So, whilst I have made efforts, not always completely successfully I have to say, over the months to leatherise my faithful trotters in an attempt to go progressively harder, I’m going to attempt a reversal and implement an alternative solution, embarking on a program of moisturisation and lubrication to supplement a continued regime of scalpel-induced skin abatement.

Apart from blisters, what have I got to lose?

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