A blister is a raised area in your skin with watery liquid inside. You can have it in your hands and feet as a result of rubbing and pressure. Blisters form a lot faster than calluses.
Foot blister may develop the day you put on poor fitting or uncomfortable shoes. You can form blisters on your hands if you forgot to put on protective gloves when using a shovel, hammer or when you are riding your bike. Parts of your body that develop blisters and continue to be rubbed may form calluses.
What Causes Foot Blisters
Blisters are very common on the feet. The increased in temperature that makes your feet swell and sweat is the common cause of painful fluid-filled sacs. The rubbing on your shoes and your skin, even if you wear comfortable shoes it will still produce blisters. The possibility of having blisters is high if you are doing a lot of walking, running, hiking or jogging.
Additionally, if your sock is wrinkled and friction is produced between your sock and your skin you would probably have blisters. Weather is also a factor in having blisters, if it is hot and humid and your feet swell the rubbing and friction form blisters.
Some people are not aware that moisture plays a big role in the formation of blister. Whether the moisture is due to sweat, humidity in the air, rain or puddles it contributes to the formation of blisters. The reason for this is that wet skin is less durable, more vulnerable, softer and more elastic. This means that the upper layer of the skin is most likely to separate from the lower layers and fill the space with fluid.
Another reason for this is because moisture can transform socks from soft protective gear into sticky friction magnifiers.
How to Deal With Foot Blisters
1. Friction Blisters
The skin over a blister serves as protection against infection. It is important that the skin remains intact to prevent protection. You might get tempted to pierce it but you need to control yourself as it might lead to infection and slows down the healing process. The skin covering the blister will peel off on its own once the skin beneath has healed. You can use plaster to cover the small blisters. For bigger blisters you can use gauze pad or dressing.
Painful blisters, or those that are form on the area where it is most likely to burst, like the sole of your foot, can be covered with a soft dressing. This will serve as cushion and protection. It might help if you cut the gauze pad into a doughnut to fit the blister perfectly and avoid putting pressure directly on the affected area. Change the dressing regularly and wash your hands before making contact with the blister to avoid infection.
2. Burst Blisters
In case the blister burst, do not remove the dead skin on top. Let the liquid inside drain and use mild soap and water to wash it. Cover the blister with a dry, sterile dressing to keep it protected against infection until it heals.
You can use hydrocolloid dressings that you can purchase over the counter in the pharmacies. This dressing can help in preventing discomfort and promote healing. If the dead skin on the top layer has already taken off, do not remove the rest of the dried skin on the edges. If the blister was caused by the shoes you recently wear, avoid wearing it, until it becomes better.
3. Blood Blisters
Let the blood blisters heal on its own. If a blood blister bursts, keep the affected area dry and clean. Use sterile gauze to keep it protected and prevents infection. This kind of blisters is usually painful. Putting an ice pack 10 to 30 minutes to the affected part right away after obtaining the injury can help reduce the pain (you can also use a bag of frozen veggies). Place a towel over the affected area to so the ice will not get in touch with your skin directly before applying the ice pack.
Steps in Treating the Blisters with an Antiseptic or Ointment
- Clean the blister thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. You can add anti-bacterial ointment.
- Allow the blister to heal naturally. Generally, you do not pop blister, however if you need to do so you can pop it particularly if it makes walking painful. If it seems like the blister heal on its own, drain it and treat it. You can begin by sterilizing a needle using a boiling water or alcohol, or use a pre-sterilized medical hypodermic needle.
- If needed, pop the blister with needle. Insert the needle slowly at the side and the base of the blister. Let the liquid drain.
- Use povidone-iodine to disinfect the blister site. This could hurt a little bit, particularly if applied using a cold spray, but it will help keep the infected part protected against infection.
- Use a gauze bandage to cover the blister. You can also use moleskin, plaster or other protective covering. Use non-adherent or low-adherent dressing since it is much easier to change without affecting the healing of the skin underneath.
- If you notice that the blister becomes dry, remove the bandages, and let it exposed in the open air.
- If you continue using the shoes that caused the blister, or do the activity you performed that cause the blister to form, you will worsen the damage. Use iodine antiseptic, and cover it with non-adherent dressing and use strong tape to keep the gauze in place. This will avoid infection, easy to remove dressing, and it prevents further friction.
- Make sure the area is clean all the time and further apply iodine antiseptic if needed.
If the blister worsens and skin infection occurs it is best to visit your doctor right away. Some of the signs of infection include red streaks extending around the blister. Also increased pain, redness, warmth or swelling around the blister. Pus is noticed on the blister and fever. These signs require further medication and treatment.