Blisters, shoe rubbing, friction
A blister is a bubble of fluid composed of water and proteins that oozes from injured tissue and forms beneath a thin layer of dead skin. Blisters most commonly develop in response to a specific injury, such as irritation or a burn, and usually affect only the topmost layers of skin. Blisters can develop when your shoes rub the same area on your foot. Wearing shoes without socks or that do not fit properly can cause blisters, which can become infected.
Do not puncture a blister unless it is painful or prevents you from walking. Unbroken skin over a blister decreases the risk of infection by providing a natural barrier to bacteria. A small blister can be covered with an adhesive bandage, and a large one with a porous, plastic-coated gauze pad that absorbs moisture and allows the wound to breathe.
If a blister causes you pain, you can relieve it by draining the fluid while leaving the overlying skin intact. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, call your doctor before considering the self-care measures below.
- Wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.
- Wipe the blister with iodine or rubbing alcohol.
- Sterilize a clean, sharp needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol.
- Use the needle to puncture the blister. Aim for several areas near the blister's edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.
- Apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and cover with a bandage or gauze pad.
- Cut away all the dead skin after several days, using sterilized tweezers and scissors. Apply more ointment and a bandage.
To prevent a blister, use special athletic socks, a bandage or similar protective covering over the area being rubbed. Attaching moleskin to the inside of your shoe where it might rub, such as at the heel, can also be helpful.
When to consult a doctor
If you see signs of infection near a blister like pus, redness, increasing pain or warm skin.