Blisters Causes and Treatment
Shearing forces within layers of the skin cause irritation and eventually the lesion that is commonly known as a blister. These shearing forces can arise from such things as biomechanical abnormalities (abnormal pronation), poorly fitting footwear and foreign bodies in the shoes.
Treatment of blisters usually consists of making the area comfortable so healing can begin, and then removing the predisposing factors that cause the blisters.
Initial treatment involves draining the blister and leaving the skin covering attached (this will limit the amount of discomfort). If the skin covering is removed the amount of pain experienced will usually be increased. The blister can then be dressed with a sterile dressing.
Following the initial treatment, the correction of the predisposing factors can begin. This may include correctional innersoles to limit excessive pronation, checking footwear for foreign bodies or irritating stitching, and fitting footwear correctly.
Docpods can help blisters that are caused by over pronation or excessive pressure on the plantar (bottom) aspect of the foot.
Blisters which are defined as small fluid filled skin pockets, may appear anywhere on the body. In case of feet, blisters more commonly occur on or near the toes but can appear any where on the sole. These are a common problem for runners, long distance walkers and hikers.
What Causes Blisters:
Blisters appear as a protective response from the skin of the feet against excessive traumatic friction occurring between the sole of the feet and socks or the shoes that one is wearing.
What Causes Blisters:
Ill-fitting shoes or new shoes that your feet are still adapting to
An inappropriate sock
Excessive sweating of the feet and heat
First the feet get hot and sweaty, this happens with running, jogging and in different sporting activities. Socks stick to the wet feet and the feet rub against the socks and the inner surface of the shoes producing friction that irritates and damages the skin.
Friction is increased when:
When the shoes are too small or tight
With socks made of a material that retains the sweat and sticks to the feet
If the foot has an anatomical abnormality such as haglunds deformity or bunions
And obviously if the causative activity persists for long periods
To protect the inner skin from this damaging friction, a fluid filled small balloon is formed in the outer layers of the skin, which is known as a blister.
Apart from above-mentioned factors other common causes of foot blisters include
Preventing Blister Formation:
Step 1: Avoid the causes
Use shoes that fit properly.
Use smooth surface, synthetic (CoolMax or Teflon) double layer socks for activities such as running, other sports involving running. Double-layer socks limit the friction in between the two layers of socks instead of between the skin and the sock.
Change socks regularly; avoid wet socks or shoes, if you sweat too much, use talcum powder or antiperspirants.
Do not shave off callus excessively during pedicure, as it protects your feet from blisters.
Walking barefoot (of course not in the streets) and applying tincture of benzene hardens the skin of your feet and thus protects against blister formation.
DO NOT put on new shoes for going on hiking or running marathons or for walking long distances for the first time. Always get your feet adapted to the shoes first (break in the shoes).
Step 1:In case of discomfort
Eliminate the cause immediately. For diabetics, due to neuropathy, it would help to examine their feet regularly especially after running or walking for long distances.
Reduce friction in the prone areas by using lubricating agents such as Body Glide or Sorboline.
Protect the sensitive areas by applying moleskin or athletic tape. Do not put it too tightly and avoid any wrinkles.
Treating a Blister
A blister goes away on its own, if it is not hurting, don’t hurt it.
In case, it is painful and hurts while walking, try draining it using a sterile needle (this is best performed by your podiatrist).
Wash your feet and dry them properly.
Apply a disinfectant over the surface. Make a hole in the blister using the sterilized needle.
Squeeze the blister to push out all the fluid.
Do not remove the overlying skin, for it aids in healing by protecting the new skin forming underneath.
Clean once again with a disinfectant and cover the area with an antibiotic ointment.
Apply sterile bandage. Give it rest and keep it dry until it heals.
When to seek medical attention:
If you are suffering from a disease that has weakened your immunity and healing capacity such as diabetes, it is better to get it checked and treated by a podiatrist.
If the blister becomes excessively painful, there is redness and swelling, with or with out a yellow or green discharge, it might be infected and you should seek immediate medical care.