Foot Blisters

Causes, Signs, Solutions and Treatment

What are foot blisters?

  • Blisters on feet are small, raised pockets of fluid found in the upper layers of the skin

 

  • A blister on the foot develops from excessive friction, like when the skin of the foot rubs against an ill-fitting shoe

 

  • Foot blisters can be painful but often do not require medical attention unless they are severe and infected

What causes foot blisters?

Foot blisters are most commonly formed due to intense friction when wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. They can also develop as a result of scalds or burns, an allergic reaction to irritants, a viral skin infection (such as herpes or warts), a fungal skin infection (like tinea on the soles of the feet or between the toes), insect bites or stings, frostbite or bedsores.

 

What are the signs of foot blisters?

Foot blisters appear as raised and reddened skin sacks filled with a watery liquid inside. The size of a foot blister can vary depending on the surface area of contact, the amount of pressure and how long the irritation has occurred.

 

What are the solutions for foot blisters?

The best way to treat foot blisters is to allow them to heal naturally by removing all pressure on the area, and protecting them with blister shield plasters.

Resist the urge to burst them as this can lead to infection. However, if they are large, painful or likely to be further irritated, make sure to disinfect the area around the blisters before pricking them very gently with a sterilised needle.

It is also necessary to apply antiseptic and wound dressing to keep foot blisters free from dirt and further irritation. Note that common “folk remedies” such as placing butter or vinegar onto blisters have not been proven to work – so don’t use them.

How to manage foot blisters

 

If the blisters haven’t burst, allow them to heal on their own. Don’t peel off the baggy skin pockets as they actually protect the blisters against infection.

 

If the blisters have popped, make sure to clean them immediately with antiseptic. Do not remove the blister ‘roofs’, but cover them with a bandage or adhesive bandage instead. Remember to change the dressing regularly due to liquid weeping.

 

If the blisters have been completely deroofed, they can be more painful and prone to germs. Use antiseptic to clean them and then cover the wounds with a special blister plaster afterwards.

 

Consult a doctor if the blisters start oozing with pus or if the areas around them become extremely swollen. It is also best to see a health professional for treatment if the blisters are suspected of having become infected.

How to prevent foot blisters?

 

Only use properly fitted shoes.

 

For shoes with laces, tie them so the pressure is comfortable – not too loose or too tight.

 

If you find the shoes are rubbing, try using gel cushioning inserts.

 

Keep feet dry. Remember, wet shoes and socks can cause blisters.

 

If you have sweaty feet, change your socks often. Damp socks drag against the skin, causing friction and rubbing.

 

Wear appropriate sports socks whenever you’re exercising or playing sports.

 

Don’t let your skin get too close to hot surfaces, irritating substances or chemicals.

 

Gradually break in new shoes to avoid the occurrence of blisters on the bottom of feet.

Optimising your general foot health

A simple maintenance routine can help to keep the skin on your feet supple and hydrated.

Daily care: Wash and dry your feet thoroughly and moisturise every day

Footwear: Ensure that your shoes fit properly (both in width and length) and are right for your activity

Appearance: Check the appearance of your feet regularly for any changes.

Movement and flexibility: Check that you can move your feet easily, without discomfort; some simple stretches may help

Referral: Speak with your pharmacist or podiatrist if you have any concerns

 


References and Sources

1. Blisters. Better Health Channel – Victorian Government.

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/blisters. Date accessed: 01 Nov 2019.