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Blisters on the Feet

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Blisters on the Feet

Blisters on the feet can be caused by drug reactions, allergic reactions, or friction (rubbing)-most commonly, the friction created by wearing new shoes. In severe cases, blood will fill the blisters and cause them to appear purple or black. Shoes that are too wide usually cause blisters in the arch or the bottom of the forefoot.Shoes that do not have enough toe length or toe depth will cause blisters on the tops or sides of the toes. Shoes that are too stiff or too loose in the heel will cause blisters on the back of the heels.

Always break in new shoes gradually, making sure to remove them at the first sign of pain. The safest way to treat a friction blister is to remove the shoe, cover the blister with a bandage( bandages especially made for blisters are now available at most pharmacies), and monitor the site for signs of infection. If you have a circulation disorder, thin skin, or diabetes, you should be especially cautious with blisters. Do not stick any adhesive bandages directly to the blister itself, as this could tear the skin on removal. Adhesive bandages should only stick to the healthy skin around the blister.


Once a blister has broken open or drained, it should be treated as any open sore and monitored for signs of infection. Treat the site with a topical antibiotic and cover with a bandage. If the blister is painful and does not drain or break open, it should be seen by a doctor. Likewise, see a doctor if a blister shows signs of infection (growing redness around the site, presence of pus). To avoid infection, it is best to have a medical professional drain the fluid from the blister. A doctor can also best diagnose and treat a blister that is infected. 



If a medical professional is not readily available and the blister is in a place that limits walking ability, you may drain it carefully yourself. keep in mind that a blister that is punctured or breaks open is much more likely to become infected than a blister that remains intact. Blisters that are red or purple in color likely contain blood and should not be punctured. Ideally, you should clean the skin around the blister with iodine or similar antiseptic before attempting to drain it.

At the very least scrub the area vigorously with soap and water. You can sterilize a sewing needle or safety pin by either boiling it in water for fifteen minutes or holding it to a flame and then cleansing it with isopropyl alcohol. The blister can then be pierced at its lowest point so that gravity will help it drain. Rolling a finger over the blister towards the hole where you pierced it  will help to squeeze out the fluid.

Occasionally the blister will require two to three punctures to drain. Drain all of the fluid to alleviate the discomfort the blister is causing you, but do not remove the skin of the blister. Protect, cover, and monitor the site of the blister for signs of infection. Eventually, the blistered skin will dry up and slough off as it heals.

Blisters that are the result of a drug reaction, infection, or allergic reaction usually appear as clusters of blisters with red skin surrounding them. These should be covered with a bandage and seen by a medical professional as soon as possible, as they could be a sign of a serious medical condition.
Reference: Great Feet For Life:Paul Langer, DPM

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