"It's kind of a ridiculously cheap, easy method of blister prevention," said study author Dr. Grant Lipman. The tape is easy to find and a roll that costs about 69 cents should last a couple of years, he added.
As well as preventing blisters, the low-cost paper tape is only slightly sticky so it won't tear blisters if they do occur, said Lipman, a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University in California.
"People have been doing studies on blister prevention for 30 or 40 years and never found anything easy that works," he said in a university news release.
Lipman and his colleagues placed surgical tape on blister-prone areas of the feet of 128 runners in a 155-mile, seven-day ultramarathon. If the runners had no history of blisters, the tape was placed on random areas of the feet.
The tape was applied in a smooth, single layer before the race and at later stages of the event.
Among 98 runners, no blisters formed where the tape was applied, while 81 got blisters in untaped areas, according to the study published online April 11 in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine.
"The best way to make it to the finish line is by taking care of your feet," Lipman noted.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on foot health.
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