04 Sep Blisters Care for Feet
How Do You Take Care of Blisters?
You know what a blister looks and feels like, but what is it exactly?
A blister happens when irritation causes the skin to build a protective layer or bubble on the skin’s surface. This bubble fills with fluid, which is usually serum, pus or blood.
Blisters are often painful. They’re a sign that you need to change your footwear or your habits.
What Causes Blisters?
Friction. Friction is the most common cause of blisters. When you exert concentrated force on your skin for an extended period of time, blisters are almost inevitable.
Irritation. Any type of burn or irritation can cause a blister. Sunburn can cause blisters on the soles and tops of your feet. If you get frostbite, your feet may develop blisters when they thaw.
Poorly fitting shoes. Shoes that are too tight or hard can cause blisters. Hard, tight shoes exert constant pressure on one or more areas of the foot. Wearing this type of shoe is a certain way to develop blisters and other foot problems.
Medications. Certain medications can increase your skin’s tendency to form blisters. These include nalidixic acid, furosemide, and doxycycline. Doxycycline can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. If you’re taking any of these medications, your podiatrist should regularly monitor the skin on your feet for signs of impending blisters.
Viruses. Several viruses can cause your skin to blister. These include the herpes simplex virus and the varicella-zoster virus, which causes shingles and chickenpox. The coxsackievirus can cause the illness known as hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which results in large blisters on your feet and hands.
Home Care for Blisters
Most blisters go away after a few days. The best approach is to protect the blistered area and avoid further irritation. Handle the blistered area gently. Keep it clean and wear a bandage, moleskin pad or other protective patches.
Should You Drain a Blister?
Is it ever safe to pop a blister at home? You can remove it if you handle it carefully, wash your hands and use sterile instruments.
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following steps to safely drain a blister.
- Wash your feet and hands in warm, soapy water.
- Wipe iodine or rubbing alcohol over the blister.
- Sterilize a sharp needle by rubbing it with alcohol.
- Use the needle to pierce the edge of the blister while leaving the skin on top intact. Pierce it in several spots if necessary.
- Let the blister drain. Apply petroleum jelly or another ointment to the blister, and then cover it with gauze or a bandage.
- Check your foot daily for signs of infection.
When Should You Call a Foot Care Professional?
Although most blisters clear up on their own, you may want to contact a foot doctor in certain situations:
- Your blister shows signs of infection, such as oozing, reddening or feeling hot to the touch.
- You’re taking certain medications that make your skin more prone to blistering. Left untreated, these blisters can cause serious systemic problems.
- You have diabetes or another chronic illness that requires extra care for your feet.
- You don’t know what’s causing your blisters.
- You’re also feeling sick or feverish.
How to Prevent Blisters
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to prevent most blisters. The right care for your feet starts with the right footwear.
- Always wear flexible, supportive shoes that fit you properly.
- Wear socks to cushion your feet.
- Take special precautions if you’re going to engage in intensive exercise. Wear the right footwear. Increase your tolerance before you take the plunge.
- Use specially designed insoles and custom orthotics.
Get the Foot Care You Need at Our State-of-the-Art Clinic
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we understand the importance of good foot health. If you’re experiencing blisters, fungal nail, ingrown toenail or foot problems of any kind, give us a call.
We combine advanced diagnostics and treatments with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Call us today to schedule a foot checkup.