Treating blisters - and preventing them

Q and A


I'm training for the Annapolis Anniversary 15K run in mid-December, and I've started developing blisters on my feet. I'm terrified that I might have to pull out of the race.

A fellow runner suggested I use something called Second Skin, but when I asked at the pharmacy, they hadn't heard of it. Where can I find it, and what else can I do to avoid being too blistered to race?

Head to a specialty running store, or revisit the pharmacy. Both should carry Second Skin, or a similar brand like Compeed. What these plasters do is protect the skin to prevent blisters or cover and guard existing blisters.

In the future, increase your mileage or your running time by no more than 10 percent per week to allow your feet time to develop a thicker skin. Wearing shoes that fit, donning a second pair of socks or socks with reinforced toes, and applying a thin layer of Vaseline to cut down on rubbing are also ways to prevent blistering.

I was hoping you might recommend some neck exercises to improve my range of motion. I'm elderly, and my neck is often stiff. My doctor says that regular stretching will help.

Necks are tricky. They should be treated with care, so check with your doctor before undertaking this routine or any other. That said, with this set of stretches, you should see an improvement in your range of motion, and your stiffness may subside. Perform these exercises slowly and gently.

Neck extension: Bend your head back smoothly. Look up to the ceiling and hold.

Neck flexion: Perform this one standing. Slowly tuck your chin forward to your chest. Look down and hold.

Lateral neck flexion: Without lifting your shoulder, tilt your head to the left (left ear to left shoulder). Hold. Repeat on the right side.

Neck rotation: Turn your head to the left as if you're looking over your left shoulder at something behind you. Hold. Repeat on the right side.

What is the correct way to do the "step-up" move that works the backside and thighs? I'm not especially coordinated, so I'm embarrassed to enroll in a step class, but I'd like to try the move at home.

There are many variations of the basic step move. Here's one that is great for the glutes and the upper legs, and is easy for beginners to pick up.

Begin facing a stair or curb, arms at your sides. Step up with your right foot as you simultaneously lift your left leg behind you, tightening the glutes, and raise your arms above your head, palms forward. Step down, repeat on left side.

Continue this pattern. Be sure to keep a slight bend in the stepping leg. Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, reconsider a group class.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to, or online at, or in writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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