A blister is usually instigated by friction between the skin and the interior of a shoe or clothing. This leads to the build-up of heat which causes swelling beneath the skin that may or may not contain blood in it.
Treatment of blisters
Always bear in mind that prevention is still the best cure when it comes to blisters. Most of the minor cases are usually left alone and heal over time. On the other hand, if the individual develops a blister after a long run or walk, there are considerations to bear in mind in order to ease the pain. To learn to recognize and manage these injuries including blisters, register for first aid training today.
The initial sign of a blister includes redness over the skin, usually at the rear part of the heel, toes or instep. This is called as the hot spot and this is an early indication that a blister is forming. The application of a second skin dressing, tape or plaster over the affected area can provide a protective layer to prevent it from forming.
Always make sure that the feet are dry and change socks on a regular basis. Once socks are wet, it will cause friction quicker than dry socks. An ideal but momentary measure is to cover the foot and affected area with petroleum jelly. This will provide some relief from the pain as it protects the skin and lubricates but as the heat from the foot melts the petroleum jelly, it will not be effective anymore.
In most cases, they drain and naturally heal on their own. For bigger blisters, popping them might be required. Remember that this should be done with care by following these guidelines:
- Create a small hole at the edge using a sterilized needle or pin. The pin or needle can be sterilized by passing it through a flame. Do not attempt to drain a blister filled with blood. Remember that the skin is protecting the wound from infection.
- Allow the fluid to drain as much as possible. This is a protective layer for the underlying skin and helps prevent infection.
- Wrap with a specialized plaster properly. For added security, you can apply tape over the top.
Prevention of blisters
There are measures to be taken into consideration in order to prevent the development of blisters in the first place.
Always take proper care of your footwear and ensure that shoes correctly fit. Ill-fitting shoes which are too tight or too big will increase the friction or rubbing on the toes and foot. When new shoes are purchased, gradually introduce and change them once they are too worn out. Shoes should not be left on radiators or close to heaters since the leather will shrink while the seams protrude.
When protecting hot spots, you can apply a second skin or taping. It is recommended to utilize the best quality zinc oxide tape that will adhere to the foot for longer periods particularly when the feet becomes wet. Blister plaster is specifically designed to act as the second skin. Always make sure that they are warm and the foot is dry before applying, but once they are applied properly, it will stay in place for 24 hours and highly effective.