Blisters on your feet can make everyday life a pain and keep you from doing activities you love. They can make exercising, walking, wearing shoes, and even standing miserable. Most of us have experienced blisters on our feet at one time or another and can usually figure out what the cause is and how to make it stop. Sometimes though, we need helping to figure out why it’s happening and how to fix it. Blisters on your feet form as a direct result of fluid building up on the layers in between your skin. Most often blisters occur because of friction, usually from a poorly fitting shoe or sock rubbing awkwardly on the skin. Although friction is the most common cause of blisters there are other possible causes, such as:
- Allergic reaction
- Fungal infections
- Dyshidrotic eczema
- Chemical exposure
- Frost bite
- Bacterial infection
- Excessive moisture or perspiration
- Clogged sweat pores
- Insect bites
Diagnosing the cause of the blisters is the most important aspect of treating them. Again, ill-fitting shoes are the usual culprit for forming blisters on your feet especially when they’re too tight or too loose. Not every shoe is going to fit every person’s feet perfectly either, as we all have different foot shapes and bony prominences that can rub on the shoe. Make sure when purchasing a pair of shoes, you walk around with them in the store sufficiently to know how they are going to feel. Have the salesperson measure your feet and watch you walk to check for any slipping or excessive tightness.
Another important contributor to blister formation is excessive moisture or perspiration. This most commonly occurs in runners especially in the spring and summer months. Wearing moisture wicking socks such as running socks and using special moisture wicking inserts in your shoes can be a simple way of keeping your feet dry and keeping blisters from forming. The good news is that blisters caused by friction are usually resolved within a few days once the cause is found.
Knowing what to do when a blister develops is important to keep the problem from getting worse. First, allow the blister to heal on its own. Don’t be tempted to pop the blister as this can create an open wound and lead to an infection which could require antibiotics to treat. Specially made pads or cushions can also be placed on the bottom of the feet to off-load blistered areas while they heel. Cooling techniques such as cold compresses or cool baths can also be used to alleviate discomfort and help the blisters heel faster. Some cooling gels like aloe vera can be useful, especially if the cause is from sunburn, however placing any oil-based gels like petroleum jelly over blistered areas should be avoided as this can occlude them and trap heat within the blister. Corticosteroids can be applied to blistered areas; this is especially useful if the cause is allergic reaction, eczema, or contact dermatitis but a consult with a physician is advised prior to using topical or oral steroids. If the root cause is fungal or bacterial infection, an antibiotic might need to be prescribed by your doctor for the issue to resolve.
In summary blisters can form from many different causes and may require a variety of treatments to resolve. If you are having issues with blisters, and aren’t sure what to do, we are trained and experienced to help resolve your issues and provide relief no matter the cause!