Everything you need to know about Foot Blisters
A blister is a fluid filled pocket that emerges on the outer layer of the skin due to injury or infection, in response you body develops the blister to cushion the damaged area to prevent any further harm. Having blisters on your feet can be very uncomfortable or painful whilst having to walk throughout the day.
Causes and Symptoms
The main cause of blisters on the feet is due to a mixture of repeated friction and pressure against the skin. Although, tissue or blood vessel damage to the outer layer of the skin can create a blister.
When the skin of the feet is continually rubbed against a shoe, sock, or rough surface it can begin to cause irritation and inflammation . This will result in pain, swelling, and redness.
Before the blister itself has developed, a red sore will begin to emerge on the area of inflammation on the foot. If the irritation continues, it will then lead to shearing of the skin.
The continued inflammation will cause shearing, this is where small tears are created in the skin. The body’s response will send fluids to fill the small tears and help cushion and protect the underlying tissue layers.
The optimal treatment for blisters on the feet is to not touch them and heal by itself. Blisters generally heal after a few days with regular care.
It is crucial to leave clear fluid filled or bloody blisters intact, as much as they are painful, blisters are the body’s natural responsive defensive mechanism. They aid in the reduction of pressure and protection of underlying tissues. It also seals damaged tissue and prevention of bacteria, viruses, or fungus from invading the wound.
Once a blister has developed, you should stop applying pressure on it instantly. As soon as it has ruptured and the fluid drained, the surroundings of the blister can be washed gently with soap and water. It is advised to cover the blister with a dry, sterile, breathable dressing, for instance gauze or a loose bandage.
Risk factors for blisters on the feet include:
- Humid/damp environments
- wet feet/damp socks or footwear
- Warm/dry environments
- Having dry skin
- Excessive sweating
- Poorly fitted socks or footwear
- Unsupportive footwear
- New footwear
- Long distance walking or running
- Exercises involving sharp movements back and forth/side to side continuously Eg. contact sports
- Wearing footwear not designed for specific activities
- Wearing footwear without socks or thin, non-absorbing socks
- Orthotics or insoles that have moved out of place
- Carrying a heavy object or load for long periods
- Foot abnormalities
- Age, as skin ages it becomes more delicate and prone to damage
- Wearing unbreathable socks – made from synthetic material, including polyester and nylon
A number of products are sold to protect feet from blistering. Our favourite is Fleecy Web, which is a pink, fluffy cotton material with an adhesive backing. We stock this for sale in our clinics. A similar product made with paper fibres is sold in some pharmacies. We feel that the cotton fibre version is superior and generally less expensive.