QUESTION: When I run during the summer, like most people, I sweat a lot more than when the weather is cooler. My socks become soaked with perspiration and I tend to get blisters on my feet, especially when I do some hilly courses. Anything I can do to prevent some of these?
ANSWER: Blisters are caused from repeated friction to an area of the skin. Once the skin is irritated enough, fluid accumulates under the skin to form the blister. These most commonly appear on the fingers and, like in your case, the toes. There are some things you can do to prevent blisters.
The first sign of a blister is a ``hot spot.'' These are the areas where the friction is occuring. It feels like a warm spot on the foot. Once you begin to feel the hot spot, you should stop the activity or somehow reduce the friction to the area.
In many cases the hot spot or blister comes from poorly fitted shoes. In your case, I would think your shoes may be too large, and your feet slide with gravity and the extra lubrication from the sweat. If your shoes are old and worn, you might want to consider replacing them with a new, better-fitting pair.
To reduce the friction, a number of different strategies can be performed. A professor of mine always rubs petroleum jelly on his feet before he puts his socks and running shoes on. Moleskin, a product available in drug stores, is also effective in reducing the friction on affected areas.
You can try wearing two pairs of socks. This would help absorb some additional perspiration. It may be beneficial to put some powder in your socks as well. Another thing you can do is put soap on your most vulnerable areas. As your feet sweat, the soap will lather and give extra lubrication (be cleaner, too) to the feet.
As with any other wound, it is important to take care of blisters. Use Band-Aids and antibiotic cream to assist the healing without infection.