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Foot Blisters

Blisters are fluid filled areas that develop under the skin in response to friction. The body responds to the friction by producing fluid under the skin as a protective mechanism. These blistered areas often become irritating and painful. Who can get blisters? Blisters can happen to anyone but are more commonly found in athletes, especially those running long distances like marathon, walkers and when wearing in new shoes. How do I get blisters? Blisters are commonly caused by friction or shearing secondary to sports or activity. If you are wearing poor, ill-fitting footwear, you are also at a higher risks to developing blisters. Other causes include heat, moisture, allergic reactions, burns and excessive foot perspiration. Should I get my blisters treated? If you are diabetic, have neuropathy or poor circulation, it is highly recommended that you should visit to your podiatrist at your earliest convenience to prevent further foot complications such as infection.

And how about when comes to the question of whether you should pop a blister? It can be a controversial opinion and there is generally a 50-50 split on which way to go. If a blister is small and not leaking fluid it should be left alone. The small blister will generally be reabsorbed and heal on its own. Protecting it from further friction pressure will make it more comfortable. If the blister is large and going to pop open by itself then it must be treated. The area should be cleaned with an antiseptic and the blister can be opened with a sterile scalpel blade or needle. The roof of the blister should not be removed as it protects the area during healing. All the fluid should be drained and the area dressed with an antiseptic dressing daily until healed. These lesions can sometimes become septic or infected due to poor cleaning and dressing procedures. If this happens, then an antibiotic cream must be used. Oral antibiotics may be necessary. There are many home remedies for blister management. Some may work and some may not work, so treatment is best left to the healthcare professionals. Prevention of further friction and pressure is crucial. What can I do to prevent blisters? Prevention is better than cure. You can prevent blisters by doing the following:

  • Shoes should be fit properly and socks (cotton or wool) be changed regularly.

  • Feet should be kept as dry as possible with the use of foot powder as moist skin is more susceptible to blistering than dry skin.

  • The wearing of wet shoes, boots and socks should be avoided as this will increase the chance of developing blisters.

  • Use of plasters, dressings to protect areas of friction and pressure.

When in doubt, see a podiatrist and if blisters occur regularly. A podiatrist can manage your blister in a safe and sterile environment. A podiatrist can also discuss strategies to prevent the blisters from recurring.

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