Small and painful, blisters can be a nightmare, especially sport lovers who are trying to break in new trainers. Over time repeat blisters on feet can form calluses. Read on to learn more about blisters and how to treat them.
What is a blister?
In the simplest terms, a blister is nature’s plaster – it’s like a watery air bag that protects the wounded skin, giving it the chance to heal without being exposed to the elements.
What causes blisters?
Blisters occur due to intense and continuous friction applied across the skin of your foot such as when skin rubs against the shoe, especially if it is new or stiff. A pocket forms between the skin and the underlying tissue and quickly fills up with fluid, creating a blister.
Common causes of blisters on feet include:
- Friction / motion
- Having shoes that are too tight or too loose can result in blisters. Just think of how many steps in a day that can result in a lot of rubbing on one small area of soft skin which can affect the upper layers of skin.
- Not wearing socks, or the right socks, can cause an excess of moisture in the shoe, and when combined with motion, can cause friction. Certain types of materials in your shoe like leather do not allow the shoe to breath which can also contribute to moisture build-up.
- Ill-fitting footwear / tightness – you might be wearing a size up or down from your actual shoe size which can result in repeated rubbing over the day. Your feet may be a certain shape which doesn’t agree with the shape of your shoe, especially if the shoe is rigid.
How to treat blisters?
- Avoid popping your blister as this can lead to infection.
- Blisters should be allowed to recede on their own.
- Do not peel off the dead skin if the blister has popped, let it fall off on its own.
Sometimes it can’t be helped if the blister has ruptured and deflated. In this case the blister should be kept clean and allowed to dry to prevent infection. Always wash your hands before touching a burst blister. - Wear comfortable shoes that allow your feet to breathe. Trainers or any shoes with a mesh design are great for ventilation, allowing the sweat to evaporate. - Wear cotton socks as they are great for absorbing excess moisture in the shoe.
Try Scholl Blister Shields to help prevent painful blisters from forming. They contain a soft gel island that cushions the blister and keeps it hydrated and flexible, providing instant pain relief and accelerating skin healing. The protective shield protects the blister from additional friction and rubbing.
How to use Scholl Blister Shields
- Ensure skin is clean, dry and free from creams and oils.
- Remove backing film 1 and place plaster (adhesive side down) centrally over the blister.
- Remove backing film 2 using the blue tab and gently smooth down adhesive edge to skin.
- Leave plaster on until it falls off naturally
Should I see a Doctor about my blister?
Blisters are quite common, especially if you are sporty. Your GP or doctor may wish to pop a large and painful blister themselves with a sterilised needle but only in extreme circumstances. Otherwise it should be left alone to heal and recede by its self – which should happen naturally within a week.
You should see your GP or Doctor if:
- The blister is incredibly painful and keeps returning to the same spot
- The skin looks infected (is red, feels hot, blister is filled with green and yellow pus)
- Blisters appearing on their own without any of the causes mentioned above - Blister caused by a burn or scald, sunburn or an allergic reaction.