A blister on your foot is, at best, a major nuisance. Until the skin heals, you may find it difficult to stand or walk without pain, and impossible to do any kind of strenuous exercise.
But in some cases, blisters can be more than just painful. If a blister becomes infected, it can be a serious medical issue—especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.
Whatever your situation, proper and safe care for your foot blister will help you heal faster, stay more comfortable, and reduce your risk of more serious complications.
Why Do I Keep Getting Blisters on My Feet?
The primary cause of most blisters is excessive friction. When your skin rubs vigorously against another object, the skin and underlying tissue can become damaged, creating a “pocket” that fills with fluid.
Almost everyone deals with blisters once in a while, but if you get them on your feet again and again, there may be something deeper going on. Common culprits include:
- Standing or walking for long periods of time, especially if you typically are less active.
- Wearing socks or shoes that are too tight or poorly ventilated
- Excessive sweating or moisture on the feet
Blisters can also be a secondary symptom of various skin injuries or conditions, including sunburn, frostbite, allergies, bacterial or fungal infections, athlete’s foot, eczema, or even exposure to certain chemicals (including some cosmetics and detergents).
If you keep getting foot blisters and don’t know why, we can help you narrow down the possibilities.
Should I See a Doctor About My Foot Blister?
Most people do not need to see a doctor about a blister and can manage the condition themselves at home. However, there are some important exceptions:
- Do not attempt to self-treat a blister if you suffer from diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, or poor circulation—at least not without calling us first. People with these and similar conditions are at elevated risk of developing a serious infection.
- Call us immediately if your blister is excessively painful or looks infected. Signs that your blister may be infected include a warm sensation, odor, pus, or swelling.
Treating a Blister at Home
In general, it is recommended to leave your blister intact rather than pop it if you are able to do so. If you can avoid breaking the skin, you greatly reduce the risk of infection.
If the blister is small enough, you can cover it with a regular adhesive bandage. Otherwise, you can cut a “donut hole” in a moleskin and line it up so your blister is surrounded by the padding. Either way, cover the bandage or moleskin with gauze for an extra layer of protection.
Assuming this is successful and removes the pressure and friction from the area, most blisters will clear up within a week.
However, there are times when leaving your blister intact just isn’t realistic. If the blister is extremely painful, or in a spot where it’s likely to burst despite your best efforts (such as a weight-bearing area), draining it may be the wiser choice:
- Wash your hands.
- Gently wash the blister with warm water and soap.
- Apply iodine to the blister, if available.
- Sterilize a clean, sharp needle with rubbing alcohol (don’t use a flame).
- Gently puncture the blister in several spots near its edge and carefully guide the fluid out.
- Leave the overlying skin in place. It’s still providing protection.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment, then cover with a non-stick bandage.
- Change the bandage and ointment daily.
Remember, do not attempt to drain a blister without calling us first if you have diabetes, neuropathy, or poor circulation.
Gentle and Effective Blister Care
Blisters may seem like a small problem, but if you are struggling with one or more foot blisters that are especially large, painful, or keep coming back, you deserve lasting relief!
The team at Family Foot Care & Surgery provides gentle, compassionate, and effective care for blisters of all types. We’ll help you drain and treat them safely, prevent or eliminate infections, figure out what’s causing them, and give you the guidance you need to prevent them from reoccurring as much as possible.
Simply request an appointment online, or give us a call at 203-876-7736 to schedule with our offices in Milford or Hamden.