Painful blisters make walking and running difficult. But be careful not to pop the blister!
Nothing is worse than having a blister on your foot! It makes walking and exercising extremely painful. Although you may feel tempted to pop that blister, you’re better off waiting for the liquid-filled sac to heal on its own.
The thick skin on the feet makes them especially vulnerable to blisters. When the skin becomes irritated or infected, the blister is protecting the skin from further damage. Fortunately, there are a few at-home treatments that can reduce the pain.
Why do blisters form?
The most common cause of blisters is friction due to ill-fitting shoes or socks made of rough material. As you walk, you put pressure on your feet, which increases friction. Because your feet have many nerve endings and blood vessels, you may experience significant pain from a blister.
Before a blister develops, you may notice a red sore on your foot. As the sore progresses, small tears along the skin occur in a process known as shearing. To protect the delicate underlying layers of skin, your body fills the tears with liquid, creating a blister.
Blisters can also form if the skin is burned, such as after a sunburn. Blisters can also accompany frostbite as the body tries to retain heat with warm, liquid-filled sacs.
Other causes include contact with an irritant such as an allergen, chemical, or insect bite. Certain medical conditions, such as eczema, an autoimmune disorder, or diabetic neuropathy, can also make the outer layer of skin more susceptible to blisters.
Blood blisters occur when the skin is crushed or pinched. When the tiny blood vessels in the epidermis of the skin are damaged, blood leaks into the surrounding tissues, creating a blood blister.
Treating blisters on the foot
However painful blisters are, you should never pop one yourself. Blisters typically resolve themselves in a few days. The blister is a protective mechanism to stop bacteria or fungus from infecting the sore. Popping it could lead to an infection.
As you wait for the blister to heal, you can try these at-home tips to reduce the pain:
- Clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar.
- Keep the wound as dry as possible.
- Cover with a blister bandage. These are available over-the-counter or online.
- Apply antibiotic ointment to the blister and the skin around it.
- Raise your legs to reduce blood flow to the foot, which will reduce inflammation.
- Gently press an ice pack to the blister.
- Avoid wearing the shoes or socks that caused the irritation.
If the blister doesn’t heal after a few days, or if you notice the blister has changed color, you should see a podiatrist for treatment. Such changes could signal an infection. The doctor will pierce the blister with a sterilized needle, and you may be given antibiotics if the blister has become infected.
Since blisters often develop due to ill-fitting footwear, make sure your shoes fit properly and aren’t too tight. Long-distance runners often develop blisters. If you run, find a shoe that fits comfortably and try to break it in before you take it to the track. Your running socks should also be thick enough to prevent friction. Also, avoid wearing running shoes without socks.
When your feet sweat, your socks become damp and that could cause blisters. Wear socks that absorb the sweat or sprinkle on foot powder to keep your feet dry.
Have a blister?
Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group treats a variety of foot conditions, including blisters. Don’t let the pain of a blister stop you from enjoying your activities. Contact us today for a consultation!
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Fill out the form below to reach Alamitos – Seal Beach Podiatry Group, or call Los Alamitos: (562) 203-6151 or Seal Beach: (562) 242-1559 for immediate assistance.