Foot Blisters

Foot blisters are one of the most painful conditions imaginable. Blisters are also one of the most common foot problems that people experience. A blister is the result of the separation of the superficial layers of the skin. This creates a space which gets filled with fluid. Depending on the pressure applied to the area this fluid is either blood or clear ‘water’. (We call this water serous fluid).

The separation is due to friction where the foot twists or moves forward and backwards.This can happen inside your shoes or going barefoot. Usually, blisters are associated with footwear and mechanical disturbances of the feet. There probably isn’t a woman alive (or dead!) who never suffered from foot blisters after wearing a new shoe. Anybody who does regular exercise will have suffered from a foot blister at some time. When I was a regular at Run/Walk for Life I also suffered some foot blisters.

Foot blisters start with a "hot spot" at the site of greatest contact with the shoe. It usually burns too. The most important thing is to act quickly to prevent the "hot spot" filling with fluid which increases the pressure on the local nerve endings, leading to pain. Remember that pain is your body’s warning sign that something is going wrong! What we want to avoid is a ruptured blister, showing raw painful skin underneath.

Prompt first aid will diminish the chance of rupture and should bring a quick recovery. First thing – what caused it? Get out of those shoes, cover your barefeet, tell your cardiologist that you developed blood blisters on the balls of your feet after the last ECG treadmill test. (Yes folks I have treated at least two patients with this problem!!). If there is no pain, just cover the area with a piece of plaster – this binds the skin down and acts as a mechanical barrier between the foot and shoe. Even if there is fluid inside this usually helps. Personally I dislike ‘popping’ foot blisters because you can cause an infection, but because they are usually so painful I know most people like to ‘pop’ them and let the fluid out. I don’t think you should.

If you must ‘pop’, PLEASE BE CLEAN. Wash and dry the area and after popping cover with antiseptic cream, clean gauze and plaster. This will hold the skin down. (Please note I’m not telling you what to ‘pop’ with – we always talk about a sterile needle – well I don’t have any at home, do you?).

If there is blood under the skin, NEVER EVER puncture the skin. A foot blister full of blood means that the deep layers of the skin ara torn apart and if you break the skin you will let the bacteria in.Get off the foot and rest until the blood is absorbed and the pain gone. Yes you wil have to limp for a few days

Actually the best thing to do with foot blisters is to PREVENT them. Cover any area where you know the shoe is pressing before you have worn it for any time. If you always get blisters from a particular shoe, get rid of it. Ask Santa to replace it!! I find that applying a ‘blob’ of petroleum jelly over the area prevents my blisters when walking.