Blisters are usually caused from inflammation of the skin with watery fluid filled in it. When blood vessel is damaged, then the blood enters into skin tissues therefore making the blisters look red in color. Usually, blisters are caused when the skin receives sudden pressure or impact because of repeated activities or friction. Treatment of blisters should be done very carefully because the tissues and skin structure under the blisters will be like raw and sore, and any carelessness will lead to infection. Foot blisters are caused due to friction from wearing shoes or clothes that rub the skin frequently.

Blisters look red in color

How to Prevent Blisters?

  1. Selection of proper shoe is very important. Any kind of loose fitting will lead to friction and rupture of the skin and can cause blisters.
  2. One common cause for blisters is feet being wet. Should ensure that the feet are always dry by avoiding wet socks, shoe wear, etc. Two simple things that one can do to keep the feet dry are using foot powder and changing pair of socks whenever they get wet.
  3. Should apply taping or a second layer of skin in order to safeguard potential hotspots. Foot should be taped properly to avoid looseness.
  4. If you are a mountain walker, then should make sure that flat seams are embedded inside the shoe perfectly. Should keep the shoes at a distance where they are not in contact with heaters and/or radiators thereby avoiding shrinkage of the seams which will often lead to protrusion.

Blisters in Sportsmen

In athletes who usually run long distances, one common problem is that they tend to get blisters often. Sportsmen's feet are often prone to friction as they cover longer distances as part of their running. The preventive measures discussed above will be very helpful for these types of blisters besides a few discussed below:

  • Should use specially manufactured athletic shoes or sports shoes for running.
  • Prefer shoes with cushions in them.
  • Zinc oxide taping will be useful to avoid friction. Taping should be done to the areas where blisters often occur.
  • It would be very beneficial to use double layered socks. The inner layer will be attached to the skin and the outer will be attached to the shoe which will avoid friction.
  • It is always advisable to apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly to the feet especially to the areas where possibility of occurring blisters are more.

How to Treat Foot Blisters?

Often small blisters when left as it is without doing any formal treatment would heal on its own. Usually, when the blisters appear, they will be red in color often seen on the toes, instep or outer surface of the heel. A blister plaster or skin dressing should be applied and tape the foot (affected part) carefully. Before applying anything, make sure that the feet surface is dry and changing of socks is done. To get instant pain relief, cover the affected area and feet with petroleum jelly or Vaseline. This will help alleviate pain symptoms very quickly. However, this is a short term process because the jelly will melt from the heat generated by the foot and the effectiveness of the jelly will be lost.

Popping of Blisters

In case of blisters that cause problems or large blisters, it might be essential to pop the blisters. Utmost care should be taken at the time of popping blisters. Following are some guidelines which may be of some benefit:

  1. Blister which is filled with blood should not be drained.
  2. Sterilized needle or pin should be used to pierce through the edge of the blister making a small hole. Sterilized needles are available in the pharmacies or pin can be sterilized at home by passing the pin through flame for some time.
  3. Cleaning of the blister should be done only with a wipe that is sterilized. Sterilization is very important to avoid infection.
  4. Draining of the fluid should be done by leaving maximum skin surface. Then cover the wound with a tape.

Effective Way To Get Rid Of Blisters

  • Often, blisters will heal on its own when they are left as-is after draining. In case a blister is popped, then should leave the area clean with a protective cover. In this case, healing is done naturally.
  • Tape the blister protecting the area of the feet that are prone to future blisters. As said, prevention is better than cure, it is very important to protect the foot from future blisters by taping feet effectively.
  • Depending on the distance of running, athletes should decide whether to tape the foot or not.

For any type of blister, consulting a medical practitioner is advisable. Sometimes, self-treatment will lead to unforced complications leading to infection. Below mentioned are some rehabilitative measures that should be followed only after consulting a medical practitioner :

  1. Zinc oxide tape (single roll) which is one inch (2.54 cm) for maximum types of blisters. For larger blisters, Leukotape P tape that is usually 3.8 cm is used.
  2. For heel, apply 2-3 strips of tape on the back of the foot especially heel. Make sure that the tape is not overlapped because this will lead to rubbing of the skin. At the time of taping, make sure it is wrapped appropriately avoiding bumps or wrinkles which can worse the condition further. To avoid bumps or wrinkles, small cuts can be made to fit the tape better.
  3. For toes, tape strips are applied around toes individually making sure there are no wrinkles or bumps while taping that cause further blisters.
  4. For instep, as discussed earlier, striping of inside of the foot is done with the tape making sure there are no wrinkles or bumps while taping.

What Are Blister Plasters?

Piece of kit that is very helpful in preventing and treating the blisters are called "Blister Plasters". Following are some tips which may be helpful:

  1. Blister plasters can be applied to the areas that are prone to blisters like toes, heel, and insteps. The moment plasters are applied perfectly, they will act as second layer of skin. These plasters should be kept intact until the blisters are healed.
  2. Blister plasters are helpful in covering the blisters that are pre-existing and are fluid drained which help the athlete to carry on the running activities without any problem. These blister plasters will help in healing without scab formation. Also, these will help minimize the pain.
  3. If blister plasters are not fitted properly, then they will lead to untoward complications related to foot. So fitting correctly is very important to achieve effective and quick results. To get the plaster stick quickly and effectively, warming of the plaster will be helpful.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Last Modified On: May 10, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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