If you’ve ever hobbled home with blisters after a long day walking or a night partying in uncomfortable shoes, you’ll know the unpleasant pain they bring. And while they can be unavoidable at times, there are ways to deal with the pain and prevent future ones from forming.
What are blisters?
A blister is a raised bit of skin that is filled with fluid which is typically caused by a reaction to rubbing, friction or burns. Blisters are a form of self-defence to protect the skin underneath.
What are the symptoms of blisters?
The appearance of blisters are like a bubble on the skin. The liquid is usually clear but can sometimes be red if a small blood vessel bleeds in the bubble. If the liquid is cloudy, this may indicate an infection. Infected blisters shouldn’t be ignored as without treatment, it could lead to a skin or blood infection.
What causes blisters?
Often caused by friction and heat, blisters are most common in people who are very active or who wear ill- fitting shoes. Blisters are most likely to form in hot weather when feet are sweaty and more likely to rub against shoes or between toes from flip flops. Wearing shoes without socks and walking or running for long periods of time can also lead to blisters. They can also appear when the skin reacts to substances like chemicals, detergents and solvents. Having a condition like diabetes where sensation in the feet is reduced can make you more likely to suffer with blisters as you may not feel any rubbing before a blister forms.
Top tips for avoiding and managing blisters?
Don’t burst blisters, instead manage them by:
- Applying an ice pack to relieve any pain.
- Covering blisters that are likely to burst with a soft plaster or dressing.
- Wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly.
- Wearing thick socks when exercising.
- Dusting your socks with talcum powder if you get sweaty feet.
- Always wash your hands before and after touching a burst blister.
- Allowing the fluid in a burst blister to drain before covering with a plaster or dressing.
Should your blister be infected or not resolve in 3 weeks, please see a healthcare professional for further advice.