What exactly are they?
A blister is a small pocket of fluid in the upper skin layers and is one of the body’s responses to injury, pressure and friction. Feet are particularly prone to blisters, with the most common cause being ill-fitting shoes or repeated pressure and rubbing. The blister forms to cushion the area from further damage as it heals. If the blister is left ‘unpopped’, the body gradually absorbs the fluid as the underlying skin recovers. This can take around a week.
To pop or not to pop?
The ideal treatment for blisters on the feet is to not touch them and let them heal by themselves. This will take a few days but because we all have busy lives that don’t allow us to stop for something like a blister, leaving it alone is not always an option. Our feet sometimes need to go back into the shoe, blister and all…
If you are able to get away with a thong on one foot at work however, it is crucial to leave clear fluid filled or bloody blisters intact. Yup, they’re painful, but blisters are the body’s natural responsive defensive mechanism. They aid in the reduction of pressure and protection of underlying tissues, as well as sealing damaged tissue and preventing bacteria, from invading the wound.
Once a blister has developed, if you can’t stop applying pressure on it, this is what you need to do:
Clean the area with soap or disinfectant and then prick the blister with a needle heated over a flame to sterilise it.
Allow the fluid to escape and the roof of the blister to collapse down onto the blister base. While this is happening, the surroundings of the blister can be washed gently with soap and water again. Do not remove the blister roof, doing that will delay healing and increase the risk of infection. If the blister refills over the next day or so, you can repeat the process.
It is advised to cover the blister with a dry, sterile, breathable dressing, for instance gauze or a loose bandage.
Sometimes blisters don’t always form like they’re supposed to depending on how they formed. Here are some other suggestions for treating a friction blister:
- If the blister has burst, don’t peel off the roof – let your body heal the area in its own way and in its own time.
- Apply antiseptic and a dressing or sticking plaster to the area to protect it and keep it free from dirt or irritants.
- Don’t use tape alone for the dressing. Removing the tape may rip the roof skin off the blister so use a non-adhesive dressing under the tape.
- Change the dressing daily and re-apply antiseptic.
- Steer clear of ‘folk remedies’ like applying butter or vinegar. These don’t work and can increase chances of things like infections.
Get blisters a lot? Some things to think about:
- Wear properly fitted shoes.
- Choose moisture-wicking socks (socks that draw sweat away from your feet) or change socks twice daily if you have sweaty feet. Damp or wet socks cause friction and rubbing.
- Wear ‘sports socks’ and the correct style of shoe when exercising, playing sports or walking long distances. For example, high heels are not designed for long walks early in the morning…
- If you become aware of a localised ‘hot’ area on your foot, stop the activity and tape the area immediately.
- Apply a foot spray deodorant to reduce sweating and the risk of fungal infection.
- Change damp socks promptly, as wet socks can drag against the skin.
- Humid/damp environments will assist in the creation of blisters.
- Wear new footwear in before committing to wearing for long periods.
Most blister prevention treatments require direct application to the skin and affected area. Not these amazing patches of joy though! You apply ENGO directly to your shoes—not your skin—to prevent blister-causing friction and provide long-lasting blister prevention and relief. Available from our online store here