A blister is an area of raised skin with a watery liquid inside. Blisters form on hands and feet from rubbing and pressure. You can develop blisters on feet from wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes for just a few hours. Blisters are not really harmful to you; they’re quite the opposite, actually. Blisters are the body’s way of defending your skin against the pressure and friction that is subjected to it.
Causes of foot blisters
Foot blisters can occur due to friction between your feet and shoes. This is usually the result of excess moisture on the skin. Blisters are usually not serious and can be treated at home with antibiotic creams and bandages. Too tight shoes can create even more rubbing when your foot may need to slide in and out of the shoe during certain motions, like going up on your toes, or turning your feet, in certain dance moves, walking uphill or downhill, or just walking in general for an extended time. It is usually best to let a blister heal on its own, but very painful blisters can be popped with the right tools and proper sanitary practices. If you notice any complications, like a blister that does not go away, has pus, redness or red streaks, is painful or causes a fever, make an appointment with your doctor for evaluation.
Steps to get rid of foot blisters
Step 1: Wash your hands
In rare cases; you can pop an extremely sore blister on your own. You should only do this if the pain becomes debilitating. Before popping a blister, wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water. You should never touch a blister with dirty hands.
Step 2: Clean the blister
Before popping your blister; clean the area around it with water. Using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or iodine can slow healing.
Step 3: Sterilize the needle
You will use a sewing needle to pop the blister, but this should be sterilized first to prevent infection. Wipe the needle down with rubbing alcohol, which you can purchase at a local drugstore. You can dab rubbing alcohol from a bottle onto a cotton swab or use rubbing alcohol pads. Alternatively you can sterilize the needle by running it through an open flame until it turns red. Use something to grasp the needle when you do this like Kelly clamps, since the needle will become very hot.
Step 4: Puncture the blister
Take the needle and gently insert it into the blister. Puncture it several times, near the edge of the blister. Allow the fluid to drain out naturally while you leave the skin covering the blister in place.
Step 5: Apply an ointment
Once you’ve drained the blister, apply an ointment to it. You can use Vaseline or Plastibase, both of which can be purchased at a drugstore. Use a clean cotton swab to rub the ointment over the blister. Some ointments may irritate a blister. If you notice any signs of a rash, cease use of your ointment.
Step 6: Cover the blister
Place a piece of gauze or a bandage over the blister. this will protect it from infection while it heals. Change the dressing twice a day and, when you change it, add new ointment. Remember to wash your hands before touching your blister.
In a protected environment the blister will heal off best and all by itself. With a blister, breaking its protective layer of skin allows bacteria to enter the wound, which is medically considered an open wound. Nevertheless, if this does happen, you should disinfect the punctured blister (for example with an antiseptic spray) and cover it with a blister plaster. It will protect the affected area from further pressure, friction and other harmful external influences.
How to prevent blisters
Wear comfortable shoes and footwear. Shoes that do not restrict your feet or pack them up like sardines are, by far, the best way to get rid of those blisters. Tight or poorly-fitted shoes tend to cause your toes to rub against each other, creating friction and, you guessed it, blisters. Tight shoes also restrict the movements inside the shoe when you walk, putting your feet in constant contact with the sole. A shoe with a comfortable fit allows your foot breathing space, so to speak.
Choose shoes with a soft insole, preferably one that allows you to “dig in” when you step on them. Pressure will be lessened when you do so and there won’t be much friction, either. Good foot padding will go a long way in treating your blisters.
See a doctor if you notice complications
Most blisters heal on their own. However, complications warrant a trip to the doctor. If you notice any of the following complications, make an appointment with your doctor:
• A painful, red, and hot blister or a blister with red streaks
• Yellow or green pus
• A blister that keeps coming back
• Having diabetes, heart conditions, auto immune disorders, HIV or undergoing chemotherapy can make the blister rapidly become worse, causing sepsis or cellulitis.
Depending on the cause of the blister, your doctor will form a treatment plan for you. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions closely and ask your doctor any questions you have before leaving the office.