From tight sneakers to uncomfortable high heels, painful blisters can pop up no matter what shoes we wear. We all want to be free to dance the night away or work out without anything niggling at us, but the fun can easily get spoilt by a painful blister. Here's how you should treat blisters so that it doesn't stop you from being you. To keep walking tall and dancing comfortably, we first have to break down what a blister actually is in order to know how to treat it fast.
What is a blister?
A blister is an area of raised skin with some watery liquid inside. Foot blisters typically form on hands and feet caused from pressure and rubbing. They can develop on your feet if you wear ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes. The continuous rubbing and pressure applied on some areas of the foot may lead to the separation of the outer skin layer, the epidermis, from its lower skin layers resulting in the formation of a blister containing tissue. This liquid serves to cushion the internal wound and protect it from further pressure. So while it's painful, blisters are a clever tool the body uses to protect vulnerable parts from further damage.
The outer layer of the blister protects the wound from further pressure, dirt or bacteria. Unfortunately, blisters are very painful and often burst when exposed to more friction and pressure. This exposes a painful wound that can easily become infected.
How long does it take for a blister to heal on its own?
If untreated, a blister can last from three to seven days. If your blister is causing you a lot of pain and you can't go about your day, make a visit to your GP.
Should you pop a blood or burn blister?
It's best to leave a small blister alone and allow it to heal naturally. However if you're dealing with a large, painful blister, draining it is the best procedure.
The best way to treat a blister from home
You can treat blisters using these simple techniques and home remedies. If they occur frequently or get infected, you should leave it and seek help from your health-care professional.
1. Pierce the blister
This is the first step in blister treatment. Draining fluid from the blister reduces pain and kick-starts the healing process. Ignoring the blister and continuing to work with the affected hand or running on the affected foot can cause more pain or blood to accumulate. Friction can rub off the top skin layer and deepen the wound.
To safely pierce a blister, start by cleansing the affected area with rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. A sharp needle should be disinfected with a clean cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol as well. The blister should be punctured near the edge in several spots. Once done, allow the fluid to run out. Repeat this twice at 12-hour intervals if the fluid keeps accumulating. If you are afriad to go about this on your own, you can visit your GP or dermatologist.
2. Protect the ulcer
Whether the blister accidentally got popped in your shoes or willfully from the process above, it's important for the open wound or ulcer to be protected from infection. Do this by applying a thin layer of antibiotic ointment before covering it with a bandage or sterilized gauze pad and medical tape.
3. Soaking it
To help encourage healing, the foot would be soaked in warm water enriched with a generous amount of Epsom salt. This will dry the wound and encourage quick healing. It will sting or burn a little when you plunge your foot in the warm, salty water. Ideally, the affected area should be soaked for 20 to 30 minutes every day till the blister heals completely. This is also a good remedy for preventing future blisters as it minimizes foot sweat.
To reduce the pain of a blister, baby powder or corn starch can help dry a sweaty foot and absorb the moisture that might promote infection.
Of course, prevention is critical to stop blisters from forming. Here's what you can do:
1. Apply a foot cream to keep the skin moisturized and supple. This will make it resistant to developing blisters.
2. Wear comfortable shoes that fit. The right choice of shoes can easily prevent foot pain.
3. Keep your feet as dry as you can. Wet boots, shoes and socks can cause blisters faster than dry ones.
4. If you are prone to blisters, wear special socks that are enforced at the toes or heel and don’t have seams to protect your feet when out running or walking.
5. When you know you have a long day or night ahead, be prepared for any emergencies by taking Elastoplast SOS Blister Plasters along with you. Their extra strong adhesion will protect and cushion your blister, give it time to heal and protect it from further friction. This way, you can keep on with your activity without experiencing pain.
Remember, always see a health care professional if the blister develops into a deep wound, starts bleeding or shows any signs of infections such as reddening or over-sensitivity.
Treatment from a Doctor
A Doctor might burst a large or painful blister using a sterilised needle to help ease the pain if they deem it safe to do so. If they find that the area is infected, they may prescribe antibiotics for long-term treatment and relief. SHould they find that the blister is caused by another medical condition, further treatment and advice may be offered.
When to call a Doctor for blisters in children
If your child has a blister that you are concerned about, there are certain signs to look out for. Call or see your Doctor or Pediatrician if your child develops a fever, the blister is on their face, they look or act sick or if the blisters are spreading. If the blister looks infected and is big, red or pussing, seek medical attention as soon as possible (1).
How to tell if a blister is infected
If you've been using over the counter medication, sometimes your blisters may react or worsen thanks to the specific drug. If you have or plan to speak to a physician, let him or her know about your medical reactions before you are prescribed anything. You can tell if a blister is infected by the colour and texture. If it's red and hot to touch, it can be infected, and if it's bubbled and filled with yellow or green looking pus, then it may have gotten worse.
To beat the infection to the punch, try these super simple and helpful home remedies to ease painful symptoms and prevent infection of blisters fast – good luck!
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1. Seattle Children's: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/medical-conditions/symptom-index/blisters/