Taking Care of Blisters Jul 5, 2022 / by Complete Family Dermatology Team
Blisters are a common skin problem in the summer months. Whether you are wearing new shoes, hiking, running, or playing sports, it is important to know how to prevent and treat blisters so that you can enjoy your summer activities without interruption.
What Causes BlistersThere are two main types of blisters: friction blisters and burn blisters. Friction blisters occur when there is repeated rubbing or chafing against the skin, often in areas where there is little padding such as the heels, toes, or balls of the feet. This can happen when you break in new shoes, walk long distances, or participate in activities that require a lot of foot movement.Burn blisters are caused by contact with a hot surface, chemical burn, or radiation therapy. These types of blisters are less common than friction blisters. Today, we'll be focusing on friction blisters.
Preventing a BlisterThere are a few simple steps you can take to prevent friction blisters from forming in the first place.
- Make sure your shoes fit well and do not rub or chafe against your skin. If they're new shoes, break them in before wearing them for a long period of time. If your skin doesn't feel fully protected with one pair of socks, wear two.
- Wear socks that are made of moisture-wicking material to keep your feet dry. Stay away from cotton as that soaks up sweat and moisture, which can lead to friction.
- Use soft bandages or moleskin on areas where you feel friction in your shoes. Apply this material securely so that it stays in place during activity.
- Use powder or petroleum jelly to further reduce friction. This is help prevent your skin from rubbing against your clothing.
- Take a break if you are experiencing pain and discomfort.
Treating a BlisterIf you do get a blister, it is important to treat it properly to prevent infection and further pain.
- Clean the area with soap and water, then use a bandage to protect the blister.
- Use padding if your blister is in a high-pressure area, such as the bottom of your foot. Place a donut-shaped pad around the blister to take the pressure off of it.
- Don't pop or drain the blister. This can lead to infection.
- If the blister pops on its own, clean it with soap and water and apply petroleum jelly and a bandage.
- Monitor the blister for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus. If you see any of these signs, see a doctor immediately.
- If the blister is painful, you can take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.