Blister Care

What You Need To Know About Blister Care

One of the most common maladies that affect the foot is the blister.  Care and treatment of these skin lesions will depend on what has caused them to occur.

What Is A Blister?

A blister is a separation of the layers in the skin; a pocket of fluid building up between the outer layer and the inner layer of the epidermis.  The fluid is generally water, but it can also be blood or pus.  Blisters can occur for a variety of reasons, and anywhere on the body. 

Friction Blisters

Friction blisters occur when the skin rubs against other materials, pulling the upper layers of skin apart and forming a pocket within while the surface of the skin remains undamaged.  

Body fluids accumulate, creating a bubble under the skin’s surface.   When this happens, the fluid protects the underlying skin as it grows, with the outer layer eventually dying away.  If possible, allowing the blister to heal on its own is the best course of action, and will usually take only a few days. 

Treating A Blister

Often, though, friction blisters appear on the foot as the result of ill fitting shoes; making even the simple act of walking a painful event.  In these cases, it may be helpful to relieve the pressure caused by the buildup of fluid.   This should be done cautiously and as hygienically as possible to avoid the introduction of bacteria or germs. 

Carefully sterilize a needle by wiping it with an alcohol soaked cloth, being sure to wash your hands first with an antibacterial soap.  Whenever treating a blister, care must be taken to avoid infection. 

Pierce the side of the blister with the sterilized needle, massaging the blister gently to enable the fluid to seep from the lesion. 

Using a clean cloth, wipe away the fluid and cover the blister with a snug bandage to keep it clean.

Sometimes, the surface of the skin covering the blister (called the “roof”), will become torn from repeated rubbing.  Keeping the area as clean as possible, carefully attempt to place the torn skin back over the raw area. 

Apply an antiseptic cream and cover with a specially designed blister pad. 

Never intentionally remove this roof of skin, as it serves to protect the wound from germs and bacteria.

Blisters Due To Medical Conditions

When blisters are formed due to a medical condition such as chicken pox, herpes or shingles, it is strongly recommended that they be allowed to heal on their own.  The fluid within the lesion will be infectious, and will likely create the development of new blisters in previously unaffected areas. 

Because these types of blisters tend to itch, treating and reducing the itchiness is the best way to keep additional blisters from forming.  This can be done using a variety of products, from oatmeal baths to creams.

Blisters From Burn

Blisters that are caused from burns should never be drained by the individual.  The fluid that accumulates, called serum, contains valuable healing elements as well as providing a protective cushion. 

Piercing or popping these blisters opens the risk of bacteria or germs entering the wound and causing an infection.  Instead, when a burn results in a blister, care for the area by applying cool water, then an antibiotic cream followed by a loose non-stick bandage secured with medical tape. 

Blister Prevention Tips

Preventing blisters is a much easier process than treating them. 

Avoid friction burns by wearing properly fitting shoes, and by keeping the skin well hydrated and moisturized.  Soft and supple skin is at less risk for friction. 

While medical conditions may not be fully avoidable, it is helpful to stay away from those afflicted with the diseases. 

Being vigilant around hot elements and staying out of the hot sun will lessen the risk of burns. 

Remember that, when you do get a blister, care and treatment for it will depend on how it was caused.