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A Simple Technique for Beating Blisters

By September 21, 2013January 15th, 2014Guest Blogs

Here’s a short and sweet guest post from Rob Panariello. This time of year you see more blisters crop up with athletes as they begin their pre-season training. Hopefully some fellow coaches will find this information to be useful. 

Robert A. Panariello MS, PT, ATC, CSCS
Professional Physical Therapy
Professional Athletic Performance Center
New York, New York

Often times during an athlete’s or client’s training, blister’s may arise due to the forceful rubbing (friction) that may occur to the foot while running in a new pair of training shoes, to the hands due to the repetitive gripping of a barbell, dumbbell, and/or kettlebell, or due to improperly fitting exercise apparel and use of various exercise equipment. A blister is a small pocket of fluid that appears as a bubble within the upper layers of the skin. Blisters can be both painful and frustrating, as they may cause an interruption to an individual’s workout schedule. However, a prompt resolution is available to quickly return the athlete/client to their training.  When asked how to treat blisters by both my athletes and patients, I always refer to a method that I had read in the Journal of Athletic Training approximately 30 years ago. It is a technique that I have successfully utilized to resolve blister conditions in as little as 24 hours.  I had previously posted this blister resolution as a response to a blog on a website approximately 2 or 3 years ago but due to the recent number of “blister” inquires that I have received, I am offering this advice once again for those who may be interested.

kettlebell training

There is one prerequisite for this blister remedy to be utilized appropriately, and that requirement is that the blister must have remained intact and not been broken. The following supplies are also necessary for this procedure:

  1. 1 Sewing needle
  2. 3 to 4 inches of white thread (no color threads as they contain dyes)
  3. Betadine
  4. 1 Small bowl
  5. Band-Aid(s)
  6. 1 Sterile gauze
  7. A pair of small scissors


  1. Pour a small amount of betadine into the bowl. Soak the sewing needle and the white thread in the betadine for a minute or two.
  2. Place some betadine on the sterile gauze and clean the blister as well as the area around it
  3. Wash your hands and remove the sewing needle and tread from the bowl. Pass the betadine soaked thread through the eye of the needle, folding the thread to secure it. DO NOT TIE A KNOT AROUND THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE.
  4. Pass the sterile needle and thread through one side of the blister and exit out of the opposite side of the blister making sure there is still some thread outside the original entrance area. The fluid will drain out of the blister.
  5. Remove the needle from the thread while leaving the thread intact inside the blister. Holding each end of the thread at each side of the blister, move the thread back and forth (side to side) to “coat” the entire inside area of the blister with betadine.
  6. Cut the thread so that there is approximately ½ inch of thread outside each side of the blister.
  7. Cover the blister with a Band-Aid and avoid wetting the area for 24 hours.

After 24 hours remove the Band-Aid and pull/slide (remove) the thread from the blister. The area of the blister skin should appear as good as new.

I have utilized this treatment of blisters successfully for approximately 30 years. I hope that you have the same success with this method of blister care that I have had.



  • Polina says:

    HI Bret and Rob!
    Thanks for the great advise. I also handled the same problem this week. I wore new pair of shoes to the gym and by the time
    I got there…. Let’s just say I didn’t go for a walk the next day.
    Instead of betadine, I cleaned the area wirh 40%proof alcohool. the same thing with the needle.I just made a tiny “hole” in the blister, till the fluid came off and afterwards I put a Band-Aid.
    It reminds me of a film I once saw, it’s called:”Run Fat Boy, Run”.
    (THe main character ran a marathon for the fisrt time in his life and he had one HUGE blister)

  • Sam says:

    Thanks for the tip! Blisters are very annoying, especially when they interfere with exercise routines.

  • Jon says:

    Thanks for the great tip Bret! Glad to hear that this method heals the area within 24 hours. I get blisters quite often under my feet and it always sucks to lose a few days or so to wait for the blister to go away.

  • Tom says:

    Great tip saved me before tournament! Thanks guys 👍🏻

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