Blisters on the feet appear at any time of the year, although they are more frequent in summer. Sweat, dryness and the rubbing of the shoe with the bare foot often create these uncomfortable pockets of air and pus.
A blister is a small bag of fluid and can vary in size. Their appearance can be due to different reasons and can develop after a skin burn, a fungal or bacterial infection, an insect bite or trauma. Depending on where it appears, the blister can interfere with normal daily tasks. For example, if you get a blister on your feet, you may find it difficult to walk, exercise, or stand for long periods of time.
However, the most normal thing is that blisters appear on the feet. Fortunately, several home treatments can alleviate discomfort and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Why do blisters form on my feet?
Friction may be the most common cause of its appearance. Walking or standing for several hours a day puts pressure on the heels, soles, and toes. The longer we are on our feet during the day, the greater the risk of blisters on the feet.
However, not everyone who walks or stands for long periods of time has to suffer from them. In many cases, these fluid-filled bubbles are the result of poorly fitting shoes , which are either too tight or too baggy and rub against the skin. This causes friction, and as a result, fluid builds up under the top layer of the skin.
Excessive moisture or perspiration can also trigger these bubbles on the skin. This is common during hot seasons among athletes, especially runners. Small blisters form when sweat clogs the pores on the feet. Blisters can also appear on the feet after a sunburn.
Extreme cold can also cause skin cells to freeze and die. When this happens, a blister forms to keep warmth in the body. Freeze burns tend to appear immediately and many do not associate them with the cold.
Other possible causes are:
- Allergic reaction
- Chemical exposure (cosmetics or detergents)
- Yeast infections
- Bacterial infection
- Dyshidrotic eczema
How to prevent its appearance?
The best way to avoid their appearance is by addressing the cause that generates them. If you develop a blister from friction, wearing shoes that fit well is the first thing to do. If your feet rub against a specific area of your shoe, using an insole can provide additional cushioning and reduce friction.
- Insoles for shoes . If you are an athlete, be sure to keep your feet dry. You can use foot powder to reduce sweating, or moisture wicking socks designed for athletes. These socks dry faster and reduce moisture.
- Moisture wicking socks. If a cosmetic product (powder, lotion, soap) or an allergen causes blisters on your feet, you should avoid the irritant to reduce the likelihood of new blisters appearing.
For areas prone to blisters, it is best to apply foot tape and powder before doing an activity to reduce the chances of new wounds. Some bandages also have empty holes, which can help protect delicate skin or newly healed skin.
The best treatments for blisters on the feet
A blister on the foot caused by friction usually resolves within a few days with home treatments.
However, some do not respond to home treatments or get worse over time. If this is the case, see a doctor if a blister causes severe pain or prevents you from walking. You should also see a doctor if you have a fever, nausea, or chills accompanying a blister on your foot.
Most commonly, a doctor will drain the blister with a sterile needle . In the case of suspecting an infection, they may examine a sample of the fluid to determine the cause.
Yellow, green, or purple blisters are often infected and require medical attention. Abnormally colored blisters can also be a symptom of more serious underlying health conditions, such as herpes.
It is normal to be tempted to puncture or burst the blister. But you should leave it intact because an open one can get infected. It is best to cover it with an adhesive bandage to help protect the blister while you heal. If you leave a blister alone, the most common is that it will harden and disappear. Until this happens, the bubble can be uncomfortable, depending on how big it is or where it is located. Although a blister should not be burst, draining it safely can bring relief. To do it at home safely:
- Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap.
- Using a cotton swab, disinfect a needle with rubbing alcohol.
- Clean the blister with antiseptic.
- Take the needle and make a small prick in the blister.
- Let the liquid drain completely.
- Put an antibacterial ointment or cream on the blister.
- Cover the blister with a bandage or gauze.
- Clean and reapply the antibacterial ointment daily. Keep the blister covered until it heals.
Other known treatments for fluid or blood-filled blisters on the feet include:
- Apply an ice pack, wrapped in a thick towel or blanket, and apply on the blister gently, without pressing.
- Use blister-type bandages to cover the affected area.
- Raising the foot with a chair or pillow to reduce blood flow to the area and limit swelling.
- Keep the area as dry as possible to aid healing.
- Remove the shoes or socks that caused the blister.
- Gently apply antibiotic ointments or creams to the blister and surrounding skin.
- Cleanse the area and reduce inflammation and pain with over-the-counter solutions, such as hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar.