Blisters are pockets of fluid formed between the upper layers of skin caused by friction from constant rubbing or pressure. They usually occur on your feet where your footwear rubs against your toes, heels and soles for long periods of time.
Your skin reacts to the friction by producing fluid, which forms below the outermost layer of skin, causing pain and irritation. Sometimes, the friction is enough to rupture your blood vessels and blood blisters form.
The best way to deal with blisters is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some preventive measures you can try to avoid them.
Choose the Right Shoes
Your shoes are the most common source of blisters. Everyone has a different foot shape and size, and getting the right shoes that fit helps prevent blisters.
Taking your new shoes out can easily cause blisters because your feet and shoes need to get accustomed to each other first. Going on a short walk with your new shoes can help your feet get used to them. This can also help you locate potential trouble areas.
We’ve collected a list of great shoes that, by owners’ feedback, probably won’t give you blisters.
Since blisters form when your footwear rubs and tears your skin, you can prevent them by adding lubrication to your feet. Simple lubricants like liquid or powder silicon and petroleum can help reduce friction.
Lubricants are also good protection from water and moisture.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Moisture intensifies friction. To keep your feet dry, you can put cornstarch or talcum powder in your shoes and socks. They can help soak up moisture and keep your skin dry. However, cornstarch and powder diffuse over time, so you need to reapply them to maintain dryness.
You can also apply anti-perspirant to your feet. Anti-perspirant sprays are the easiest to put on but sticks and roll-ons also work. Make sure to apply on dry feet and let the product dry first before putting your socks on.
Choose the Right Socks
Cotton socks retain sweat and this causes your skin to soften and be more prone to irritation. Synthetic socks are more recommended because they are made of polypropylene and acrylic, which keep moisture away from the feet.
Some people prefer to use two layers of socks, thin wicking sock with a thicker sock over it, to avoid friction and moisture. Others use padded and hiking socks which you can find at several footwear stores.
How to Treat Blisters
While friction blisters don’t cause serious health issues, they should still be treated with care. Blisters may break open, get infected, and develop into a more serious wound. Here are some ways to handle painful blisters without causing any more damage.
Protect and Allow It to Heal
Protecting and allowing your blisters to heal is one of the safest ways to handle them. Blisters smaller than the size of a pea usually take a few days to heal. Covering the affected area is important to avoid further friction and rubbing.
Before covering your blister, you have to clean it first with a mild soap. Let it dry for a few minutes and put a bandage on it. You can also surround your blister with strips of moleskin to protect it further.
Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that speed up healing and reduce the swelling and pain caused by blisters. It is also used as a treatment for first and second degree burns, making it an effective remedy for friction blisters.
Rubbing aloe vera gel on your blister a few times a day can help it heal in just a couple of days.
Try not to pop your blister if it isn’t too painful. The skin over it serves as a barrier from bacteria and infection. However, if the blister has already torn or is about to burst, you may decide draining it to protect it while healing.
Here are the steps on how to drain a blister’s fluid while keeping its overlying skin intact.
- Wash your blister with soap and warm water.
- Dab it with iodine.
- Wipe a clean, sharp needle with alcohol to sterilize it.
- Puncture your blister with the sterilized needle. Try to prick different spots near the edge of the blister. Leave the overlying skin intact and let the fluid out by gently applying pressure the blister.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the drained blister and cover it with sterile bandage or gauze.
- Don’t forget to change its dressing every day.
It usually takes a week for a drained blister to heal. Remember to take precautions for at least a week after removing the bandage since the healed area is prone to getting a blister again.
If you notice any redness or puss in your blister, seek medical attention immediately because those are symptoms of infection. Foot infections can be difficult to treat so it’s best to get it checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.