How to Take Care of a Blister on Your Foot
A common skin issue, blisters can appear anywhere on the body but tend to most often form on the hands and feet. A person of any age or gender is at risk of developing blisters.
When a blister forms, it looks like a circular-shaped bubble, and it’s filled with fluid. The liquid filling the blister can be clear or dark; if the blister is dark and contains blood, it can be referred to as a blood blister.
Because of their easily identifiable features, a doctor can often diagnose blisters just by looking at them. Blisters can be painful and, if located in an inconvenient spot on your feet (such as the bottom of your foot), prone to further friction and irritation. For most people, though, blisters tend to heal on their own in time and without causing any further complications.
What Causes Blisters on Feet?
There are a variety of reasons why one or more blisters have formed on your feet, including:
If you purchase a pair of shoes that don’t fit you well, you risk developing blisters, especially on your heel and/or on the side of your pinky toe. These blisters are forming as the result of friction.
Remember, your shoes should not feel too tight or too loose. Instead, allow adequate room in the toe box so your toes can move freely, but make sure that your feet aren’t sliding around in the shoes.
The physical activities you engage in for exercise may be causing blisters. Hiking long distances on rough terrain, for example, can place a lot of added pressure on your feet. This issue can be exacerbated by wearing the wrong type of shoes (in this example: flats rather than cushioned hiking boots) or if you’ve just purchased a new pair of shoes and you’re breaking them in.
While it can feel nice to walk around barefoot at home, you can do yourself a huge favor regarding blister prevention by wearing socks. Socks do a great job of wicking moisture away and keeping your feet dry. When shopping for socks, avoid buying thin socks or socks made only of cotton; these socks do not provide the barrier you need between skin and shoe.
Diabetes and Other Medical Conditions
If you have been diagnosed with a certain medical condition, such as diabetes, it’s important to be aware that you’re more susceptible to developing blisters. A disease like diabetes causes nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) in the lower legs, making it difficult to feel when a blister has developed. Additionally, poor circulation can prolong the healing process.
Should I Pop the Blister?
If you have a raised, fluid-filled sac on your skin, it’s tempting to pick at it or pop it. The question is . . . should you?
If It Can be Avoided, Not Popping Will Help Prevent Infection
In general, it’s a good idea to avoid popping the blister, especially because you don’t want it to get infected.
The formation of a blister is your body’s natural healing response to an area of skin that has sustained damage. The goal of a blister is to keep the skin protected from further damage, as well as to keep out dirt, bacteria, and other harmful particles that could enter the affected area.
How to Treat a Blister on Your Foot
You can treat the blister on your foot by taking these precautions and following these steps:
Drain if Needed Due to Pain
A large, painful blister that’s making it difficult for you to walk and go about your regular routine can be drained if needed. If you do decide to drain your blister at home, clean the area, sterilize the needle you’re using, pierce the blister, and allow the liquid to drain.
Do Not Remove the Outer Skin, Which Provides Protection
As inconvenient and perhaps even unsightly as your blister may be, don’t remove the outer layer of skin. Stripping the outer layer of skin can increase your infection risk as well as extend the blister’s healing time.
Use an Antibiotic Ointment or Cream
After cleaning your blister with mild soap and lukewarm water, apply an antibiotic ointment or cream to the site. An antibiotic ointment or cream (such as Neosporin) can work well to prevent infection and help your blister heal as quickly as possible.
Cover With a Bandage and Repeat Until Healed
Get into the habit of covering your blister with a sterile bandage. You can use gauze pads and an adhesive bandage. Be sure to change the bandage at least once a day or more frequently, especially if the bandage gets wet.
When Do I Need Help From a Podiatrist for a Blister
Our podiatrists are well-versed in blisters as well as other common ailments that affect the feet. If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the blister(s) on your feet and for any reason start to feel concerned, it’s time to seek help so the blister can be properly evaluated and you can get the answers you need.
If It Doesn’t Go Away or an Infection is Present
Most blisters go away on their own, especially if you take care to keep the blister site clean and bandaged. Sometimes, however, a blister can linger for longer than a week and can become infected. You may have an infection if your blister (or the area around it) is red, painful, swollen, and hot to the touch. It’s best to seek advice from our podiatrists as soon as you sense that something may be wrong.
Contact Us for Help
If you have a foot blister and would like to schedule an appointment with Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists, please contact us by calling 313-582-6222 or submitting a contact form online.
Our office is conveniently located at 7243 Chase Rd. in Dearborn. Trusted and well-respected podiatrists Dr. Alexander Thomas and Dr. Fernando Quirindongo—along with our friendly and helpful staff—would be happy to serve you, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that you have a positive experience that paves the path toward blister healing and prevention.
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7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126
Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
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