Summertime – warm weather – blisters! A very familiar combination we are seeing in the Amy Maclean Podiatry Clinic at the moment. We have all had a blister at some point and know how sore and uncomfortable they can be; so here is some information about them and what you can do to prevent a blister forming.
What is a blister?
Blisters are small pockets of clear fluid under a layer of skin. You can get blood blisters which are filled with blood as opposed to clear fluid and they can be found on any area of the foot or leg.
What causes a blister?
- Irritations- this can be friction from the rubbing of shoes against the foot. Extreme temperatures can also be a cause of irritation leading to blisters. This can include sunburn, so make sure to put SPF on the feet and legs.
- Allergies- allergic contact dermatitis can result in blisters. This is usually caused by having contact with a poison, things like poison ivy.
- Skin conditions- dermatitis and less commonly, inherited conditions such as epidermolysis bullosa can cause blistering of the skin which can often be painful.
- Infections- viruses such as chickenpox and shingles can cause blistering and can be widespread over the body, not just the feet and legs.
Blisters can last anything from a couple days to weeks and even months depending on the cause.
How to prevent blisters.
There are various ways to help prevent blisters, and this also is dependant on the cause. Below are some top tips on how to prevent blisters:
- Make sure that you have shoes that fit properly and are comfortable will reduce the friction on the foot.
- Ensure that you wear socks with shoes will absorb sweat and further reduce friction.
- Avoid direct sunlight if you take medication that causes photosensitivity as this will reduce your chances of blistering with the heat.
- Apply a liberal amount of talc on the feet to help reduce moisture levels in the feet.
How to treat blisters.
It is generally best to leave blisters alone and don’t pop them. Blisters help protect the underlying skin, so by breaking the skin, you are increasing the risk of infection.
Ideally, cover the blister with a dry dressing, or a plaster and wait until it heals fully. Specific blister plasters can also be used, but once you apply them to the area, do not try to remove them early (they are very sticky and will just pull your skin with the plaster!)
If the blister breaks, it is best to clean it with a saline solution and dress it as above.
If the blister is very large or painful, it is best to see a podiatrist who can lance and drain it safely and give you advice on how to look after the blister through to healing.
If you read one part of this blog, read this.
- Blisters are pockets of fluid under a layer of skin
- They arise predominantly due to irritation and by making small changes, you can decrease the risk of blistering.
- Leave blisters to heal on their own, and cover with plaster to protect them.
- If you are in pain or have a large blister, please see your local podiatrist who can help.
Any questions, contact me here. #amymacpod