Blisters are a common cause of foot pain or discomfort and can occur anywhere on the foot that is subject to excess friction. The most likely cause of friction blisters are poorly fitting footwear combined with various levels of activity.
Those blisters occurring within the top layer of the skin, that is between the layers of the epidermis, are least painful. Blisters occurring between the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) and the second layer of skin (the dermis) can become acutely painful.
Blisters can also occur on the foot as a result of eczema, allergy, athlete�s foot or burns.
The treatment of blisters will depend on their severity and cause and any complications such as infection.
Moist skin can increase the likelihood of friction blisters and should be included in the treatment programme for persistent blisters.
In most cases the blisters contain a clear fluid in varying amounts. However some blisters may contain pus and may be infected and others contain blood.
A typical scenario often seen in my Practice is an athlete, such as a runner or tennis player, who has been doing a lot of his sport in hot, sticky weather. The excess friction of the sport, combined with the wetness of the foot allows formation of the blisters. Generally, the size and location of the blisters will determine the amount of pain.
Blisters can present as either broken or unbroken. In both cases they can present a range of symptoms from discomfort to acute pain.
An unbroken blister causing some discomfort can be improved if just covered with an anti friction type dressing such as spenco second skin. Antiseptic powders or creams can be used in conjunction with spenco second skin. The spenco can be held in place using a tape such as mefix.
Unbroken blisters which are causing pain can be drained using a sterile implement but the skin should be kept intact. The area should then be treated with an antiseptic before applying spenco second skin.
Generally, blisters are a minor problem. However, complications can arise in certain circumstances particularly in individuals with poor circulation or diabetes. If the area surrounding the blister becomes red and the temperature increases this may indicate an infection.
Most friction blisters occur as one or two lesions. If you find yourself developing multiple blisters, particularly if they itch, you may have a fungal infection or have an area of eczema.
For individuals prone to forming friction blisters it is important to ensure your shoes are a good fit and stitching and seams are not aggravating the skin. In addition, since moisture increases the likelihood of blister formation, keeping your feet and socks dry will be beneficial.
If blisters routinely occur particularly on the bottom of the foot, using an off-shelf orthoses with a spenco top cover, will reduce the friction and the likelihood of blister formation.
In sports such as the triathlon using products such as Blistop will greatly reduce the possibility of forming friction blisters.
There are many products available to treat moist skin including sikoped insoles and various sprays and powders such as akileine absorbing powder and akileine anti-perspirant foot spray.