Blisters and Prevention

Blisters and Prevention

What is a blister and how do you get one?

A blister is a clear, fluid-filled bubble nestled under the top layer of the skin. They most commonly occur on the hands and feet. Blisters are very common with athletes and hikers, but anyone is susceptible.

Depending on the cause, a blister can be blood or pus-filled.

The most common fluid-filled blisters are caused by repetitive friction on the skin from ill-fitting shoes or socks, running or walking. The body reacts to this friction by producing a pocket of fluid underneath the skin in the rubbed area. This causes a great deal of pressure and pain.

Blister on foot

Other types of blisters, such as blood blisters, occur when there is pinching, force or friction against a tiny vessel or capillary. If there also appears to be pus in the pocket, then the blister may be infected. An infection can occur by popping or deflating the blister with an unsanitary needle, which is oftentimes done at home.

Other causes of blisters can be:

  • Chemical exposure
  • Frost bite
  • Burn
  • Bone spurs
  • Exostoses
  • Foot perspiration
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Moisture

Once you develop a blister, walking can be very painful. Most blisters tend to last around three to seven days.

How Do I Treat a Blister?

Oftentimes a blister will drain on its own. You can cover it with a bandage or blister pad for protection and comfort while you wait it out. Once you notice the dry, tough skin that has developed where the blister once was, you can trim or exfoliate the remains.

If you are treating a blister at home, you first need to wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Clean a needle with rubbing alcohol. Gently poke a hole into the blister. Press the blister and drain the fluid through the hole that you have made. After there is no sign of fluid left, add an antibacterial ointment and cover with a bandage to prevent any bacteria from entering. In due time, you may remove the bandage and soak the foot in Epsom salt, if you like. When not soaking, keep the affected area bandaged until the blister is dry.

*DO NOT flame-heat a needle for the purpose of puncturing the blister.

How Can I Prevent Blisters?

Dry skin is prone to blisters. A good moisturizing lotion, petroleum jelly or cream is helpful in keeping the skin moist and will make it less likely to rub against surfaces. Wearing two pair of socks, a layer of 2nd Skin Circles or an Adhesive Knit can build a barrier of cushioning to prevent rubbing. Further, always wear shoes and socks that fit well. Shoes that are too small, tight or narrow even shoes that are too big or loose can cause repetitive friction and blisters over a short walk.

When purchasing shoes, be sure that you can fit a thumb-width space between the toe and the end of the shoe. Socks should fit properly without extra fabric bunched under, on top or on the sides. We recommend cushioned, compression socks for additional comfort and less irritation. Avoid wet shoes as well as going barefoot for long distances.

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