Maybe you spent too much time walking around in a brand new pair of shoes. Or perhaps you exceeded the distance over which a pair of flip-flops or high heels can comfortably carry you. Now, regrettably, you have one or more blisters on your feet.
Excessive friction and pressure cause most foot blisters, but they’re far from the only possible culprits. You may get blisters on your feet from a sunburn, frostbite, contact dermatitis (which is a dermatologist’s fancy term for an allergic reaction on the skin), ruptured blood vessels, or a medical condition such as eczema, diabetic neuropathy or autoimmune disease.
But whatever the reason might be for your foot blisters, you want them gone ASAP. Fortunately, unless your foot blisters are the symptom of a larger medical condition, treating them is easy!
Leave Your Foot Blisters Alone
Usually, the best way to take care of foot blisters is to leave them alone. Just like your body will naturally produce a scab to seal germs and other contaminants out of your bloodstream, so too will it naturally create a blister to protect against further damage to the underlying tissue.
A foot blister prevents bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms from accessing your body through your bloodstream, and the discomfort it creates will dissuade you from putting additional pressure on your damaged soft tissue. Obey the cues your body gives you. If you get a blister on your foot, your body is telling you to treat that area gingerly while it repairs itself!
Once your foot blister has broken and drained on its own accord, you should then gently wash the area with soapy water and cover it with sterile gauze (or a large Band-Aid, if its padded area is broad enough to completely cover the area your blister formerly occupied).
If you decide to take a more active approach to treating your foot blister, just bear in mind that keeping the blister intact until the problem resolves itself is your number one goal!
Apply an Ice Pack
Applying a cold pack or ice pack may help to reduce the discomfort and swelling of a blister. (A bag of frozen peas will do the trick as well.) Simply wrap the application in a towel and press it very gently against the affected area for 10 to 30 minutes.
Moleskin is a type of adhesive bandage that is specially designed for relief from blisters. You do not want to apply moleskin directly to your blister, however! Cut the padding into a ring so it can encompass your blister without overlapping it, and then stick it on so it frames your blister neatly. When used correctly, moleskin acts like an added layer of protective natural skin.
Keep Your Foot Raised
If your blister has become uncomfortably swollen, then you may raise your foot with the aid of a chair or pillow. Thanks to the magic of haemodynamics, this will safely reduce blood flow to the affected area which in turn will reduce inflammation and swelling. And so long as you’re keeping that foot out of commission, you won’t be aggravating its blister any further!
Keep Your Foot Dry
Skin softens when it is exposed to damp conditions. But you want the skin containing your foot blister to remain strong and supple, which is why it’s important to keep your foot dry. It is safe to bathe normally, but do thoroughly dry your feet afterward. Avoid swimming, and if your socks get wet be certain to change them promptly. Failing to do so may put you at risk of developing an altogether new blister!
Retire the Guilty Footwear
You may be hesitant to part with the pair of shoes, boots, pumps or flats which gave you a foot blister in the first place. We’re certain they look marvelous on you, but they’re simply not worth the risk of developing another blister. While the vast majority of blisters are mere nuisances, a very small number of them lead to life-threatening infections.
It is a good idea to take preemptive measures against bacteria that could infiltrate your body through your foot blister. Even if the skin on or surrounding the blister hasn’t broken, consider applying a thin film of topical antibiotic to the affected area. Neosporin is the most popular name brand antibiotic ointment, but a generic product should work just as effectively.
See a Doctor if Necessary
Despite your best efforts, it is possible that your foot blister will demand medical attention. If your blister becomes discolored, inflamed, or abnormally large – or if it fails to heal at all – then it may indicate a more serious underlying health condition. A podiatrist will safely treat your blister in their office, as well as take tissue samples to determine its root cause. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
If you are suffering from an unusually swollen, painful or discolored foot blister, then the passionate podiatrists of TC Foot & Ankle Clinic are available to see you right away. We welcome you to contact us today to schedule a visit at one of our convenient locations in Golden Valley and Woodbury, Minnesota!