Blisters are small pockets of fluid that usually form in the upper layers of skin after it’s been damaged. The damage is usually caused by excessive pressure from new shoes, poorly fitted shoes or a sudden increase in exercise. Fluid collects under the damaged skin, cushioning the tissue underneath. This protects the tissue from further damage and allows it to heal. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid (serum), but may be filled with blood (blood blisters) or pus if they become inflamed or infected.
Most blisters heal naturally after three to seven days and don’t require medical attention. It’s important to avoid bursting the blister, because this could lead to an infection or slow down the healing process. If the blister does burst, don’t peel off the dead skin. Instead, allow the fluid inside the blister to drain and cover the area with a dry, sterile dressing to protect it from infection until it heals. At David Brown Podiatry we may release the fluid using a sterile blade and then dress it to reduce possibility of infection and allow it to heal quicker. We also stock a range of blister prevention plasters/pads and advise on ways to prevent them happening.
It is important to contact your GP if you think the blister is infected. The sign of infection may be
- increased pain
- yellow or green pus present
- increased heat
Do not ignore any sins of infection as it may lead to further complications.
What causes blisters?
Blisters can be caused by:
- friction to the skin
- heat – for example, from sunburn or a scald
- contact with chemicals, such as detergent or creams
- some medical conditions
There are a number of things you can do to avoid getting blisters caused by friction. For example, you can:
- wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes
- help keep your feet dry with thicker socks or talcum powder
- break footwear in gently over a number of days
- don’t ignore any signs of pain
- use a small amount of Vaseline on areas of increased pressure
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!!