Keep Blisters from Bubbling Up
The word “bubbles” typically conjures up fun activities like blowing bubbles and taking bubble baths, but there is nothing fun about the fluid-filled variety known as blisters. These often develop on your feet due to your shoes rubbing against your skin. Your body reacts to that friction by producing fluid that builds up beneath the skin as an attempt to buffer it. Continued friction can result in pressure and pain—so much so, that these seemingly minor problems can interfere with your normal routine, especially if they get infected. Foot Doctor of the East Bay is here to help.
What Brings on a Blister?
The main reason for blisters is friction from footwear, but there are a few other culprits that can result in these bothersome bumps. Severe burns, insect bites, and medical conditions such as chicken pox and shingles can also cause the problem.
Bursting the Bubble
To pop or not to pop, that is the question. The answer depends on the severity of the situation. If the blister is small or not preventing you from your activities, leave the protective layer of skin intact and simply cover it with gauze or a bandage. However, if you are in pain and unable to go about your daily routine, popping the blister is advised, but only if you do it properly and you do not have diabetes.
First, wash your hands and the area. Then, sterilize a needle and gently poke a hole at the edge of the blister. Lightly press on it to drain the fluid out of the hole. Apply antibacterial ointment and cover with a bandage to protect against infection. Do not take the top skin off. Instead, wait a few days for the skin to dry and peel it off gently once it’s ready.
Bandages and Beyond
These fluid-filled bubbles will typically go away on their own, but you can speed along the process by soaking your feet in an Epsom salt footbath. This helps draw out the fluid. Follow it up with a fresh application of antibacterial ointment and bandage. Once healed, the dead skin can be gently removed. In the meantime, be careful to watch for any signs of infection including redness, swelling, or irritation.
Build Up Your Defense
Your first line of defense against this pesky problem is to keep your feet moisturized. Dry skin is prone to be irritated by friction, so slather on the lotion. You can even cover your feet with petroleum jelly before slipping them into your socks.
Attack the problem at its root by making sure to only wear shoes that fit well. Make sure your toes have plenty of wiggle room and that your heel doesn’t slip. Footwear that is too tight puts pressure on certain areas, while those that are too loose will allow your feet to slip around. Both will cause your shoes to rub you the wrong way! To ensure the perfect fit, shop at the end of the day when your feet are naturally swollen.
If blisters are causing you pain, you are concerned about infection, or if you have diabetes, contact Dr. Michael Stein and Zeindelin Ahmad, DPM, at Foot Doctor of the East Bay. Visit us online or at one of our three convenient California locations in Pleasanton, San Leandro, and Los Gatos.