What are Foot Blisters?
Blisters are small clear fluid-filled pockets that develop as a bubble on an area of the body beneath the skin’s top layer. The small pockets form when the skin’s protective layers separate and the space between them fills with serum – the liquid part of blood. The serum contains protective substances such as antibodies since the body’s defense mechanism must try to protect the damaged skin as best as it can. These bubbles in the small pocket can vary in size and can happen for various reasons. Blister fluid is composed of water and proteins. You may develop a blister after infection with bacteria or fungus, an insect bite, skin burn, or trauma. Warm skin, pus, and fever could indicate an infection, requiring urgent medical attention. A blister can interfere with your everyday tasks, depending on its location. For example, if you have one on your feet, you may experience difficulty exercising, walking, or standing for long hours.
However, it is possible to treat blisters as shall be seen in this article. Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute covers a wide range of health topics and gives answers that are medically reviewed by several professionals. All information presented here is obtained from peer-reviewed studies and observations of common practice.
What Causes Foot Blisters?
Friction against the skin is the primary cause of blisters that are known as friction blisters. However, anything that leads to tissue or blood vessel damage to the outer skin can cause a blister. A typical blister should self-heal within a few days. Some of the most common causes of blisters include:
- Friction and pressure. A combination of friction and pressure causes most blisters. Many think that a blister only develops from tight shoes, but even when the shoes fit properly, vigorous activity could lead to a blister. When skin feet are continuously rubbed against a sock, rough surface, hiking boots, or new shoes, irritation caused by itchy blisters, and inflammation occurs leading to pain, swelling, and spreading redness. A red sore usually develops before the blister. If it continues to be irritated or pressure is applied to it, the skin starts to shear – inflammation causes small tears in the skin. The body sends fluids that fill this opening as well as protect the more subtle underlying tissue layers. Friction blisters are very painful and tender to touch. Over time they can change the foot shape and this could present shoe fit problems.
- Burning. When your skin is burned, your body responds by creating a blister to protect the underlying tissue layers from getting damaged. First-degree burns form blisters after a day or two. Burn blisters heal by the time the burn heals.
- Freezing. Extreme cold causes frostbite, freezing and kills skin cells. Blisters may develop to keep heat in the body. Frostbite burns appear immediately.
- Contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis, also known as skin inflammation, can occur when the skin is exposed to an irritant. If there is prolonged exposure, skin inflammation progresses to a blister. Severe allergens and irritants can also lead to inflammation and pressure-forming blisters. They appear shortly or immediately after exposure to an irritant. The most common causes of contact dermatitis blisters include sulfates, chemical solvents, skin allergens, chemicals in washing detergents, nickel, and insect bites.
- Medical conditions. Any medical condition such as sweaty feet that weakens the skin’s outer layer makes one more susceptible to blisters. Certain infectious diseases and disorders can also cause blister formation. Other medical conditions and treatments that may increase foot blisters include dyshidrotic eczema, diabetic neuropathy, chickenpox, being overweight, blood-thinning medications, having an allergic reaction, and antibiotic ointments. Tiny mites, also known as Sarcoptes scabiei, could also cause blisters on children’s limbs and mouths.
- Ruptured blood vessels. When tiny blood vessels in the skin’s epidermis break, they leak blood into the underlying tissues causing a blood blister. Blood blisters occur when the surrounding skin is pinched or crushed.
How to Treat a Blister on your Foot
Blisters often develop on the feet. If not treated early, they can cause discomfort and repeated blisters. You may get the urge to pop in and get it over with but this is not advised unless it is too big and painful. In that case, your doctor could puncture it with a sterile need to drain the excessive fluid. If it pops at home, smoothen the skin flap that remains and wash the foot with soap and water. It is important to embrace home treatments for blisters below recommended by experts from Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute.
Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the blister for 15-20 minutes at a time
Applying a cold compress or ice pack, wrapped in a thick towel for short periods without applying pressure can help alleviate the swelling and the pain. One could consider this step as a first-aid initiative intended to alleviate the pain as one observes the seriousness of the blister. Blister balms and sprays can also prevent chafing since they help create a barrier in the affected area.
Put on clean thick socks and avoid walking around as much as possible.
As mentioned earlier, rubbing your feet against a rough surface, a sock, or a shoe can cause inflammation and swelling which eventually results in the formation of a blister. Wearing moisture-wicking socks is one of the efficient ways to reduce friction. Additionally, you should refrain from walking around as much as possible. Many people may not opt for this option because of their sweaty feet but this hurdle can always be solved by applying talcum powder to your socks. This will not only help reduce the pain but also the swelling. Alternatively, you could apply a bandage that helps keep the protective layer of skin on top of the blister intact while alleviating pain from the affected area. Adding extra padding on one’s insoles is also recommended
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen
Blisters on the feet can be very painful and unbearable. To alleviate the pain, our team of skilled doctors advises that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen. This will not only help reduce the pain but also make you feel less uncomfortable.
Soak your foot in warm water with Epsom salt for 10 minutes twice per day until the blister heals
Soaking your feet in warm water with Epsom salt can help heal the blisters. Our skilled personnel recommend that you do so twice a day for ten minutes for better results.
If you have diabetes, consult with your doctor about how best to care for any blisters that may form on your feet due to neuropathy
If you are diabetic, it is crucial to try and keep the blisters intact as you are more prone to infection and the damage to your feet may worsen. Our doctors can advise you on the best techniques to apply to effectively treat your blister thereby lessening your risk of exposure to infection. So, contact us at any time to get professional help.
If you are diabetic and have a deep wound, see a podiatrist right away
Deep wound blisters on the feet require you to see a podiatrist right away. Our podiatrists are well trained to treat issues in the foot, ankle, and lower leg. Not only can they help your limb work as it should but also alleviate severe pain and speed healing after surgery. Our podiatrists set fractures, draft prescriptions, recommend physical therapy, and do necessary surgery.
Blisters on the feet should not be left unattended as the pain is not only nerve-wracking but also unbearable. Therefore, you should embrace the tips and techniques above recommended by our health specialists at Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute to treat foot blisters.
Leading Foot Blister Treatment in Eagle Mountain
Foot blister patients from different walks of life seek our help to enable them to prevent foot blisters and get advice on the most effective treatment tips they can use to alleviate pain and swelling as well as feel less uncomfortable. Therefore, if you have a foot blister, do not hesitate to contact the experts at Rogers Foot and Ankle Institute in Eagle Mountain for help. We will be glad to provide medical advice and help you prevent blisters from forming. So, call us or visit our website to make an appointment.