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Blisters

blisterBlisters can form if shoes always rub the same spot. Wearing shoes that do not fit or wearing shoes without socks can cause blisters. Blisters can become infected.

Blisters are caused by skin friction. Don’t pop them. Apply moleskin or an adhesive bandage over a blister, and leave it on until it falls off naturally in the bath or shower. Keep your feet dry and always wear socks as a cushion between your feet and shoes. If a blister breaks on its own, wash the area, apply an antiseptic, and cover with a sterile bandage. [ Link to the Source ]


  • Appearance of Foot Blisters
  • Causes of foot Blisters
  • Blisters and the Athlete 
Blisters occur when feet get hot & sweaty, making socks stick to the feet. The sock and foot then rub against each other and the inside of the shoe. Fluid fills up a space between layers of skin to protect the area, like a small balloon. That's how a blister forms. People with diabetes may not be able recognize the painful event due to a condition called neuropathy. A doctor should attend to their blisters and burns. [ Link to the Source ]

Appearance of foot blisters

Sometimes these blisters "pop" by themselves and can become infected. Watch out for redness or leaking yellow liquid, and for red lines near the blister. These are symptoms that require medical attention. If the blister has not "popped," then leave it alone. Most of the time it will reabsorb and heal on its own. [ Link to the Source ]

Causes of foot blisters

  • Form as a result of heat, moisture and friction.
  • Friction forces caused by inappropriate footwear.
  • Form as a result of fungal infections of the skin, allergic reactions or burns.
  • Excessive foot perspiration.
Blisters are almost certain if you wear ill-fitting boots and shoes. Everyone knows this - the number one most effective prevention is to make sure your footwear fits you well. That's easier said than done however, when you have hard-to-fit feet.

In my case, a very bad bunion on the knuckle bone of one big toe, and smaller bunions on the knuckles of both little toes, make boot fitting a real challenge, and virtually guarantee that all my boots will rub and pinch in these places. Very large, wide, small or narrow feet can be a challenge. Flat arches (which, by the way, are the cause of these bunions in my case) need attention, and very high arches are an even greater challenge. Try on different boots every chance you get, and be picky about fit.

Be on the lookout for problems, and respond immediately to rubbing and hot spots before they actually become blisters. Do not let social or other pressures prevent you from taking the time you need to do this!

It's surprisingly easy to ignore hot spots while you're walking. For some reason which I've never fully understood, problem spots and even full blown blisters tend to hurt less after a few minutes of walking. The discomfort is always worse when just starting out after a break. This is the moment when you should feel for potential problems and be prepared to take action.

Rubbing between toes, under the balls of your feet, or sometimes on the outside of your feet along the edge, is often the result of loose shoes and too much slopping around inside. You should get snugger shoes, or wear thicker socks, or wear a more supportive insole. Lamb's wool, (available in foot departments at drugstores) between the toes prevents and/or soothes blisters there. Taping is harder under the sole of your foot because it bears weight, so wear an insole or get a better fit, and/or tape before you start.

If you have no blister, but an ache in the knuckle of your big toe, especially when you take your boots off, it's probably because you're being squeezed there. Get the boot punched out, and also get a more supportive insole. Custom molded insoles, personally fitted for you in a good boot shop, are a major investment but worth every penny. Support of flat arches will prevent foot problems from getting worse, or at least slow down the process. Whenever you get a hot spot or a blister, assume it will happen again in the same place next time, and tape preventively for future trips. [ Link to the Source ]

Blisters form when the skin rubs against another surface, causing friction. First, a tear occurs within the upper layers of the skin forming a space between the layers while leaving the surface intact. Then fluid seeps into the space. Soles and palms are most commonly affected for several reasons. The hands and feet often rub against shoes, skates, rackets, or other equipment. Blister formation usually requires thick and rather immobile epidermis, as is found in these areas. In addition, blisters form more easily on moist skin than on dry or soaked skin, and warm conditions assist blister formation.

To prevent blisters, you need to minimize friction. For the feet, this begins with appropriate shoe and sock selection. Check out more foot injuries for details. Make sure your shoes are the right size and shape. Wear socks made from synthetic blends.

If you get a blister, you'll want to relieve your pain, keep the blister from enlarging, and avoid infection. Signs of infection include pus draining from the blister, very red or warm skin around the blister, and red streaks leading away from the blister. Small, intact blisters that don't cause discomfort usually need no treatment. The best protection against infection is a blister's own skin. Larger or painful blisters that are intact should be drained without removing the roof. First clean the blister with rubbing alcohol or antibiotic soap and water. Then heat a straight pin or safety pin over a flame until the pin glows red, and allow it to cool before puncturing a small hole at the edge of the blister. Drain the fluid with gentle pressure, then apply an antibiotic ointment such as bacitracin with polymyxin B (double antibiotic ointment) or bacitracin alone. Avoid ointments that contain neomycin because they are more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Finally, cover the blister with a bandage. Change the dressing daily. [ Link to the Source ]

Blisters and the athlete

blisterBlisters are caused by friction from shoes or clothing which rubs repeatedly on the skin causing friction burns. As the outer layer of skin separtes from the inner layers the space between fills with lymph fluid.

They are a common problem with athletes wearing in new shoes as well as athetes or walkers who take part in exceptionally long events such as marathons or long hill walks. Blisters do not need to be a part of sporting life and can be prevented.

What can the athlete do to prevent a blister?

  • Ensure that shoes fit correctly.
  • Protect the potential 'hot spots' by applying a second skin and / or taping. Click here for details of how to tape the foot.
  • If you wear boots such as those required for mountain walking ensure all seams are flat inside the boot. Take care of the boots, do not leave them on radiators or near heaters. This may cause the leather to shrink and seams protrude.
  • Keep feet as dry as possible. Wet shoes, boots and socks will cause blisters far quicker than dry ones.
  • Wherever possible change socks regularly and use foot powder to help keep them dry.
At the first sign of a blister?

  • The first sign of a blister will be redness over the skin, possibly at the back of the heel, the instep or toes.
  • Apply a second skin dressing and tape the effected area.
  • Ensure the feet are dry and change socks (unless you are in the middle of a race).
  • A highly effective but short term measure is cover the foot and effected area in petroleum jelly. This should provide instand relief from pain but as the heat from the foot melts the petrolleum jelly it will run away and be ineffective.
How can the athlete treat a blister?
  • If the blister has not burst then it may be necessary to make a small hole at the edge with a steralised pin or needle, particularly if the blister is on a weight bearing surface. A pin can be sterilized by passing it through a flame.
  • Do not drain a blood blister.
  • Drain the fluid but leave as much of the skin as possible covering the wound. This is an important protective layer for the underlying skin and will help to prevent infection.
  • Clean blisters with a steralizing wipe. Cover the blister wound with a second skin - take the time to apply it correctly.
  • For additional security apply tape over top.


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