What a Wichita Podiatrist Wants You to Know About Foot Blisters

What are foot blisters, and are they always a problem? Not at first. A blister provides a protective barrier so new skin can form in a clean, sterile environment unexposed to dirt and germs while the wound heals. However, frequent blisters caused by different irritants are indications of a greater issue. Here’s what Dr. Benjamin Weaver and the Central Kansas Podiatry Associates team recommend to patients regarding how to treat and prevent foot blisters

What Are Foot Blisters? 

Blisters are fluid-filled bubbles that form on the skin of the foot or other parts of the body due to friction, a burn, or injury. On feet, they mainly occur on the heel and toes—areas commonly subjected to friction—but can also develop because of excess moisture, sunburn, athlete’s foot, or infection. 

In many instances, a foot blister will go away on its own in a week or two, and usually don’t require medical attention. But there are certain circumstances when more dedicated care is necessary. 

Foot Blister Treatment Options at Home and in Our Wichita Podiatry Office 

Since blisters are the body’s natural defense response, they shouldn’t be punctured to release the clear fluid. Also, don’t peel away the “roof” of the blister, as this layer is still necessary to protect the new skin forming. Blisters can be covered loosely with an adhesive bandage or a donut-shaped cushioning pad to prevent pain and infection.

The protective skin of the blister should never be torn off, even if it breaks, as doing so could lead to infection. However, if a blister pops before the skin beneath it is fully healed:

  • Gently wash the area with soap and water only—other solutions could burn and irritate the new skin forming underneath. Dry completely.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and adhesive bandage to keep the new skin clean and sterile. Change the bandage at least once daily.

Schedule an appointment with our office right away if the blister increases in size, becomes more painful, or starts to ooze white, yellow, or red fluid. We’ll do a thorough exam and determine if it’s necessary to drain the blister and provide different topical ointments and dressings to aid healing.

Preventing Foot Blisters 

If you’re getting blisters frequently, take a closer look at your shoes and socks. Footwear should be measured to fit your feet specifically and not cause sliding or rubbing anywhere, and break in new shoes over time. Try cushioned insoles for better support. Here are some additional suggestions: 

  • You might also want to try different socks, such as moisture-wicking or nylon fabrics or pairs with preformed heels. Wearing two pairs at once might help prevent friction, too.
  • In problem areas, use moleskin bandages, a bit of foot powder, or a small dab of petroleum jelly to reduce chafing. If you have foot calluses, moisturize them before exercising. 
  • Do thorough daily foot checks, too, especially if you’re trying to heal from athlete’s foot or another form of irritation.
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