Your feet are far from the most glamorous part of your body. However, they are the foundation for your every movement, making them one of the most important. In fact, when you have a foot problem, even one as seemingly innocuous as foot blisters, it can negatively impact your activity level. Blisters are a common ailment of people who wear shoes that are either too tight or rub against the feet in an uncomfortable way. Knowing the basics of blisters is important for understanding how they are formed and what treatments should be used for them. The following is pertinent information explaining everything you need to know about foot blisters, a foot condition that should not be overlooked:
How to Care For Foot Blisters: Everything You Need to Know
What Are Blisters?
Blisters are fluid-filled pockets that form on the uppermost layer of the skin. It usually forms on the upper layer of the skin because these layers are loose enough to allow a blister to form. They are often a response to an infection or injury. It is the body’s way of protecting itself from further harm, by cushioning a vulnerable area of the foot.
Blisters usually appear as a small red sore first, then as you continue to put pressure on the area, the top layer of your skin is sheared. The body then reacts by sending fluids to protect this opening and prevent underlying tissue from damage…forming a blister. The most common fluid in a blister is just a clear, watery-like fluid that usually isn’t cause for concern. However, blisters can fill up with blood if they are deep enough and pus if they have become infected with bacteria.
How Do You Get Foot Blisters & What Causes Blisters?
Causes of foot blisters include:
- Friction & Pressure: In most cases, your foot blister forms because of friction and pressure. Friction and pressure are often caused by your foot rubbing consistently against a rough surface, sock or shoe, which results in inflammation and irritation. These can occur after you have walked for a long period of time or when your shoes do not fit you properly. Your feet are also more prone to blisters if they are moist, so keeping them dry and clean is one preventative step you can take. Friction related blisters can be disabling and painful or tender to the touch.
- Burn: Your blister might instead be the result of a burn. If you have been burned, your skin will again attempt to protect itself by forming a blister. The blister won’t appear for a few days after the initial burn if the burn is first degree, such as a sunburn. If the burn is more severe, the blister will form immediately.
- Freezing: The opposite end of the temperature spectrum can also cause a blister to form. If you experience frostbite, a blister can form because of exposure to extreme cold damaging the skin.
- Contact Dermatitis: This inflammation occurs when your skin is exposed to an irritant such as an allergen. This reaction can occur because of insect bites or stings, reaction to chemicals like washing detergents or soap, or skin reactions to various types of chemicals, cleaners or solvents.
- Various Medical Conditions: Your skin can become damaged and form a blister as a symptom of many types of medical disorders and/or diseases. For example, autoimmune conditions, eczema, and certain medications can cause a skin reaction that could lead to blister development.
Blister Prevention: Is it Possible?
Yes. The best way to prevent foot blisters is the following:
- Get Shoe Insoles: Do this to prevent chafing and friction.
- Use Foot Powder: This is especially important if you are an athlete. You want to keep your feet dry to reduce friction.
- Make Sure Your Shoes Fit: Make sure your shoes fit properly. This will ensure you do not develop friction related blisters.
- Avoid Known Allergens: Eliminate any product that causes a reaction on your skin.
Should You Pop Foot Blisters?
No, in most cases you shouldn’t. However, if the blister is especially large and painful, you can pop it but should sterilize the tools you use.
When Should You Treat a Blister at Home?
In most circumstances, you need not see a podiatrist for a foot blister. You can usually treat it yourself at home. Leave the blisters intact when possible and cover with a blister bandage to prevent pain and tenderness. Using a bandage to cover up the blister will help it heal and prevent bacteria from entering it. New skin will form under the blister and eventually cause it to pop. Once the blister burst, clean the area with soap and water then cover with a dry, sterile breathable dressing.
When is it Time to See a Specialist to Treat Your Blister?
If you notice your blister becoming extremely inflamed, looks discolored, filled with pus or blood, and/or is not healing after a few days’ time, contact us at Red Mountain Footcare. Antibiotics may need to be taken in order to completely eliminate the bacteria inside the blister. Dr. Hardy is an experienced podiatrist who will evaluate your condition and come up with a treatment plan to address the problem. In most cases, you can be seen quickly, especially if your pain is severe or debilitating. Call us today to schedule an appointment.