When the skin rubs against another surface, it causes friction and a tear occurs within the epidermis (upper layers of the skin). This forms a space between the layers while leaving the surface intact and fluid seeps into this space, resulting in a blister on the skin. Foot blister formation occurs where there is thick and immobile epidermis and on moist skin rather than on dry or soaked skin. Warm conditions support blister formation, which look like bubbles on the feet.
Avoiding and Treating Foot Blisters: Foot Care Tips
• Where the action is, the sweat is- sporty people are likely to develop blisters, but timely preventive measures can help avoid this risk. Reducing chances of friction is largely possible through correct shoe selection. Good shoes need to fit comfortably, allowing about a thumb’s width between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. Poor fitting or narrow shoes cause blisters on the big toe and little toe whereas shallow toe boxes lead to blisters on the tops of the toes and loose shoes cause blisters on the toe-tips.
• The sport played should determine the shoe purchase. Foot care experts recommend wearing the same socks, insoles, or orthotic inserts that worn when playing or working out by the user, when going in for a shoe trial.
• Wearing socks decreases friction between the feet and shoes and double layering of socks minimizes shearing forces. Carrying an extra pair of socks to change into ensures a healthy alternative for clean feet in case the socks worn become too damp.
• Using padded insoles helps to decrease friction in a specific area and using drying agents like medicated foot powders and spray antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride also helps decrease moisture and keep blisters at bay.
• To relieve the pain of a foot blister, it has to be restricted from enlarging. This staves off infection as well. However, in case the blister become infected, recurs frequently, forms in unusual locations or is very severe, a doctor needs to treat it. Signs of infection range from pus draining from the blister, very red/warm skin around it and red streaks streaked away from the blister.
• Large, painful and intact blisters on the foot need draining without removal of the roof. Cleaning it by rubbing alcohol/antibiotic soap and water is recommended, followed by heating a straight pin over a flame until it glows red, and allowing it to cool before puncturing a small hole at the edge of the blister. Draining the fluid with gentle pressure is required and application of an antibiotic ointment (bacitracin with polymyxin B) usually helps. Ointments containing neomycin, known to cause allergic reactions, should be avoided.
• A cloth bandage for blister covering needs to be changed daily, especially if it becomes wet, soiled, or loose, will stave infection. Padding made of felt or lamb’s wool applied over the area surrounding the blister is a comfortable option.