STATES CHRONICLE – We’ve all had them. For better or worse (just for worse, really), they are everywhere. Nobody can escape their grasp, and everybody has at least one story involving them. What are these things that have plagued humanity ever since its goal to walk more comfortably?
Since the first human came up with the idea of shoes, blisters have been ever present. But one man, being around these painful, distressing nemeses his entire life, believes he has found a way to stop them – surgical paper tape excels at preventing blisters. But how did he come up with this seemingly easy solution?
Well, before we approach the theoretical principles of professional blister studies (not a real thing), let’s first talk about how blisters form in the first place. It’s a pretty simple process, one that has plagues mankind ever since the first human decided that he didn’t like stepping on everything on the ground.
Friction is the main culprit in the formation of blisters. When the skin rubs against a hard material, like the inside of a shoe, a sock, or even another toe, the skin cells get damaged with every chafe. Eventually, the layers making up the epidermis start separating and filling with fluid, giving birth to the blister.
Now let’s talk about the man that decided he’s had enough and who was determined to finally get a solution for this plague that has haunted mankind for millennia. His name is Grant Lipman, and he is a doctor from the Stanford University. The man specializes in wilderness medicine, and has spent years studying endurance athletes.
The answer he came up with after his years of studies is one very cheap and handy, although not 100 percent effective. With the amount of chafing out feet go through while walking, we’ll most likely never get fully rid of blisters. But the prevention method he offers might do the trick if you’re out hiking or doing other activities that would warrant the effort.
Similar to what the desperate use when their blisters have gotten the best of them, duct tape, the solution is actually surgical tape. It very cheap and accessible, as you can right now purchase 360 feet of it for $10 online. And it is far better than the current preferred alternatives of Band-Aids or moleskin.
By studying 128 ultra-runners as they participated in multi-day marathons of hundreds of miles, the doctor tested out his theory. The participants had one foot professionally wrapped in surgical tape, while they were asked to blister-proof their other foot via their preferred method.
After the marathons, there were 117 blisters divided among the 128 athletes. While seven had no blisters whatsoever, the results were pretty clear. Cheap paper surgical tape proved to be forty percent more effective at preventing blisters than any other procedure.
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