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  • Writer's pictureFoot & Ankle Specialists of Az

Preventing & Treating Blisters - What You Need To Know



Your new shoes don't fit right, you went hiking and wore the wrong socks, or a long day at the office left your feet with a blister. Now what? Scenarios like this and many more are common to lots of people. If you have a blister, chances are you felt it as it was forming, this is called chafing, and it is the cause of most blisters. A combination of friction, pressure, and heat all work together to create blisters.


Blisters form as a response to damaged skin tissue. The clear fluid (serum) comes from surrounding tissue as a defense mechanism to whatever may be causing the blister. Serum acts as a barrier between what was causing the friction and heat while allowing the skin under it to heal. There are other types of blisters too, like blood blisters, that fill with blood instead of serum as a response to blood vessels breaking and to the damage of the lower layers of skin while the top layer of skin remains intact.


Blisters on the feet are typically caused by friction on some part of your shoe rubbing up against your foot. This can occur from your shoe being too tight, improperly laced or even wearing shoes that are too big. Preventing these types of blisters is done by preventing chafing. Dermatologists recommend these tips to keep your feet blister and pain free:


Proper Footwear

Wearing shoes that fit your feet properly is one of the best ways to prevent your feet from getting blisters. Shoes should feel snug to your foot and have laces or straps that can tighten to your foots shape. Shoes that are too small or too large can cause blisters.


Wearing The Right Socks

Socks that are moisture wicking, or breathable like nylon can keep your feet cool and dry. Wearing socks with your shoes is always a good idea as it gives your feet a a layer of protection and keeps the fit of your shoe snug and tight to your foot.


Reduce Friction, Heat & Moisture

Things like talcum powder, soft bandages and petroleum jelly can help in reducing friction and heat as well as moisture. What you use depends on how far along your blister is or if it is a preventative approach to any problem areas where blisters frequently occur.


Stop Activity If There Is Pain, Discomfort Or Redness

If you are in pain, or see redness and think you might get a blister, either stop your activity or pause and apply something to reduce friction, ( moleskin bandage, powder) and reassess if you can continue. Stopping blisters before they appear is the best way to prevent them as they are typically from a repeated motion or action that will cause discomfort before a blister appears.



What to do if you have a blister and need to treat it? Thankfully, most blisters will go away on their own and as long as they are not popped, will not get infected. But some blisters need extra help. Try these at home treatments to heal your blister:


Cover The Blister

Using a soft bandage, cover the blister loosely and bring the edges of the bandage a little closer together so the middle of the bandage is slightly raised. This provides a small barrier and cushion for your blister to heal without the blister being punctured


Padding

Blisters on high pressure areas of your feet, like the heel and balls of your feet, covering the blister with a bandage will not offer relief unless you apply a pad first. Try using a felt or moleskin pad and cut a hole in the shape of your blister and place the pad around the blister. After the pad is placed, you can then wrap up the blister loosely.


Avoid Popping or Irritating Blister

If you can leave your blister alone without popping it, this is the best course of action as the body is working to heal the skin under the blister. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you need to pop your blister for relief due to the size or pain, sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol and slightly puncture the side of the blister to allow some of the serum to drain. After this, clean the blister with soap and water, apply petroleum jelly, and cover the blister with a loose bandage. Do not remove the "roof" of the blister, as the extra layer of skin helps protect and heal your blister faster.



Make sure to keep an eye on your blister as it heals to make sure there are no signs of infections. If there is pus, increased swelling or pain, burning sensations, or no healing progress after a few days, it is important to contact your doctor and review your options to make sure your foot heals as best as possible. Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona is here for you for all your foot and ankle needs, big or small, don't hesitate to contact us today to get the care you deserve.



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