Blisters are fluid filled sacs with a thin layer of almost transparent skin covering them. They can be caused by friction, repeated pressure to skin areas, or extremes in temperature (either hot or cold). Blisters can be filled with either a watery fluid or blood. If they are filled with a thick and colored substance, pus, than they are not blisters, but abscesses, and these indicate that an infection is present. Because abscesses are infections, they can be dangerous if not properly treated, and must be treated immediately by a doctor; otherwise, the infection may become worse. Blisters can also be dangerous if they form on diabetics, people with poor circulation or decreased feeling in their feet, those with compromised immune systems, and those with other serious diseases. These people should contact their doctors at the first sign of blister formation. If you are healthy, then you can try the following suggestions to treat a blister. However, if the area becomes inflammed, very painful, or pus is present, see a podiatrist immediately.
Self treatment must begin when you first notice the blister.
- Wash the blister and surrounding area with soap and water. You must keep the area clean.
- Blisters should not be opened or broken, unless they are very painful, or they are in an area where there is continued shoe pressure, which will break the blister with continued walking. As long as the blister is left intact, there is less chance of it becoming infected. To protect a blister, or sensitive skin area, order a blister guard. This is truly a space age medical miracle product. It is a soft, thin protective gel that helps to reduce friction against sensitive skin. Each gel pad is reusable, making it a very effective and economical product.
If it becomes necessary to open the blister, then follow these suggestions:
- Cleanse the blister with alcohol.
- Sterilize a clean sewing needle, or small scissors, by carefully heating the tip a flame. If this is not possible, soak the needle in alcohol to cleanse it, but this will not sterilize it.
- Carefully make a small hole in the blister. Do not insert the needle deeply, just enough to go through the top covering of the blister. You do not want to go so deep that you go through the entire blister, and into the underlying tissue. DO NOT cut away the skin covering the blister, just open the blister. Leaving the top cover of the blister intact, helps to prevent infection.
- The trapped fluid will begin to ooze out. Gently squeeze out as much of this fluid as you can. Doing this should relieve the pressure, and it should feel less painful.
- Soak the foot and blister to draw out the clear fluid, and to keep it clean. To one quart lukewarm warm water (not hot) add one teaspoon of Epsom Salt, and soak for 10 minutes. Do this 2 or 3 times a day. Carefully pat the area dry with a clean cloth or Kleenex.
- Apply a Triple Antibiotic Ointment, such as Neosporin, or one that is recommended by your pharmacist, to the blister. Cover with gauze and tape. Do not use a band-aid, as they do not absorb the blister fluid.
- Keep all pressure off of the blister while it is healing. This is very important: the blister will not heal if any pressure is applied to it. Wear a shoe made of a very soft material or a sandal. If there is still pressure on the blister, order one of our injury shoes. These are designed to apply minimal pressure to the skin of the foot, and to prevent the foot from bending and further irritating tender blistered areas. This shoe will decrease healing time and pain. In 30 years of private practice, I have found that this shoe will reduce healing time by half, and allow you to be more comfortable while healing is occurring. We will ship this shoe to you by Priority Mail, at no additional charge.
Blister prevention is easy. Following these suggestions should eliminate most blisters due to excessive pressure and friction.
- Your shoes must fit properly, and must be comfortable. The wrong size shoe is the most common cause of blisters.
- Make sure the inside lining and innersole show no wear. Worn areas inside the shoe can easily cause blisters.
- Wear socks which fit you properly. Holes in socks cause blisters.
- If you have bony protrusions, or sensitive skin areas, on your toes or feet, protect them with a blister guard. This soft, thin protective gel helps to reduce friction against sensitive skin. Each gel pad is reusable, making it a very effective and economical product.
- The back of the heel is a very difficult area to protect from pressure and friction. With our Achilles Heel Guard, the back of the heel is protected with a soft conforming gel pad, held comfortably in place with a soft elastic sleeve. Protects the entire back of the heel, and lower portion of the Achilles Tendon.
- Recurring foot blisters are usually due to abnormal foot structures or gait patterns. Flat feet, feet with very high arches, bunions, and pronation (a rolling out of the feet, so that when you walk you apply excessive force to the inner side of your feet), are all foot problems which can be successfully treated with custom-made orthotics. Our orthotics will not only relieve the pain caused by structural foot defects, but will also stop blister formation.