Blisters on the feet can be a frustrating and painful issue, but the good news is that they are often easily treatable. Understanding the causes and preventative measures can help individuals avoid developing blisters in the future. With the right care, you can prevent blisters from forming on your feet and enjoy your favourite activities without discomfort.
Blisters on the feet can occur for various reasons including friction, pressure, and exposure to harsh temperatures. Friction takes place when skin rubs against a surface like a shoe or a sock, causing irritation and blistering. Blisters can also develop due to pressure when the foot is in a tight or restricted space for a long time. Extreme temperatures such as hot pavement or cold water can damage the skin and result in blistering. Some medical conditions, like eczema, can also raise the risk of developing water blisters on the feet. To avoid them, it is essential to wear comfortable shoes, use socks that are designed to prevent blisters, and protect the feet from severe temperatures.
If you're experiencing frequent blisters on your feet, various effective treatment options are available. From over-the-counter paddings to home remedies, there are ways to alleviate pain and speed up healing. Keep reading to learn more about treating and preventing water blisters on your feet.
Overview of blisters on feet
Blisters are a common condition where fluid accumulates in the top layers of skin that have been damaged. They are often seen on the hands and feet but can occur anywhere on the body. This fluid build-up acts as a cushion and protects the underlying tissue, aiding in the healing process. Blisters can be filled with clear fluid, blood, or pus if they become irritated or contaminated.1 Foot blisters can be prevented by wearing proper footwear, keeping the feet dry, and using padding or a cushion in areas prone to blisters.
Causes of blisters on the feet
Blisters form as a defence mechanism for injured skin to aid in its healing. The primary causes of blisters are:
- Burns or scalds
- Skin reactions like allergies2
Blood blisters occur when there is damage to blood vessels in the skin and are typically more painful than regular blisters.2
It is essential to mention that there are also several skin conditions that may cause blisters in several parts of the body, which include:
- Chickenpox: a common childhood illness characterized by itchy rashes
- Cold sores: viral blisters that occur around the mouth or on the lips
- Genital herpes: a sexually transmitted virus affecting the groin
- Impetigo: a skin infection caused by bacteria
- Pompholyx: a form of eczema, also called dyshidrotic eczema
- Scabies: a skin condition caused by mites
- Hand, foot, and mouth disease: a viral illness commonly seen in young children
- Atopic Dermatitis: also known as eczema, is a chronic disease that causes inflammation, redness, and irritation of the skin2,3,4
Symptoms of blisters on the feet
Some symptoms and signs of blisters on the feet include:
- The appearance of a small bump of clear fluid, which may be painful
- Tenderness and redness around the blister
- Itching or burning sensation and discomfort
- The blister may break or leak if it pops2,3
underlying condition like an infection causes blisters, you may experience additional symptoms such as
- Body aches
It's essentialto monitor blisters on your feet and consult a healthcare professional if you experience signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, and warmth, or if the blister doesn't heal within a week or it keeps coming back.2
Diagnosing blisters on the feet
There is no specific test to diagnose blisters. Blister diagnosis is typically made by a physical examination and examination of the affected area by a healthcare professional. 3 The healthcare professional may also ask about symptoms and any underlying conditions, as well as gather information about the cause of the blister (for example: friction, burn, infection).
Home treatments for blisters on feet
Blisters generally heal on their own within a period of three to seven days without medical intervention.1
To ensure proper healing, it is crucial not to pop the blister, as it increases the risk of infection and prolongs the healing process. If the blister ruptures naturally, let the fluid drain out and cover the affected area with a clean, sterile bandage to prevent infection while it continues to heal. Do not remove the dead skin.1
To take care of a blister, first, clean the affected area with soap and water. Applying a cold compress may also help alleviate swelling and discomfort.3 You can also use some type of padding to protect blisters in areas susceptible to pressure: try cutting a pad or cushion into a doughnut-like form with an opening in the centre and positioning it around the blister.3,5
It's important to monitor the blister for signs of infection like increased warmth, redness, drainage, or pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, reach out to a healthcare provider, as antibiotics may be necessary.3
How to prevent a blister on feet
There are several ways to help avoid blisters on your feet. It is recommended to:
- Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes, not to lose or too tight
- Break in new shoes gradually
- Use proper nylon socks during physical activity. If one pair is not enough, you can opt for two pairs
- Keep feet dry with talcum powder
- Use petroleum jelly on areas prone to friction to reduce it
- To protect problem areas, consider using soft bandages like adhesive and make sure they are securely applied
- Stop the activity if you feel any discomfort, or pain, or if you can see your skin turning red2,5
Feet blisters can occur from various causes including friction, pressure, exposure to extreme temperatures, and medical conditions like eczema or viral infections. Some symptoms and signs of blisters on the feet include a small bump of clear fluid that may be painful, itching or burning sensation and discomfort. If a blister is caused by an underlying condition like an infection, you may experience additional symptoms such as: fever, body aches or fatigue. It's essential to monitor blisters on your feet and consult a healthcare professional if you experience signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, and warmth. Blisters generally heal on their own within a period of three to seven days without medical intervention. To ensure proper healing, it is crucial not to pop the blister, but if it ruptures naturally, let the fluid drain out and cover it with a sterile bandage.First clean the affected area with soap and water to treat the blister. Applying a cold compress may also help alleviate swelling and discomfort. You can also use some type of padding to protect blisters in areas susceptible to pressure. To prevent blisters, it is important to wear comfortable well-fitting shoes, to use one or two proper nylon socks during physical activity, keep your feet dry with talcum powder, use petroleum jelly on areas prone to friction to reduce it, protect problem areas with soft bandages like adhesive and make sure they are securely applied and stop the activity if you feel any discomfort, pain, or if you can see your skin turning red.
- Blisters [Internet]. [citado 30 de janeiro de 2023]. Disponível em: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/injuries/skin-injuries/blisters
- Blisters [Internet]. NHS. UK. 2017 [citado 30 de janeiro de 2023]. Disponível em: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blisters/
- Blisters [Internet]. 2019 [citado 30 de janeiro de 2023]. Disponível em: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/blisters
- Branch, NIAMS Science and Communications and Outreach. ‘Atopic dermatitis’ [Internet]. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. 2017 [citado 30 de janeiro de 2023]. Disponível em: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/atopic-dermatitis