Blisters On Feet – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

One of the most common problems of foot pain is the blisters on feet & toes. Blisters are small fluid filled packets that look likes a small bubble and usually develop upper layers of sole or skin.

The most common cause that trigger development of blisters are friction. But other things like burns, skin infections & corrosive chemicals can also cause blisters on feet. Most of the time blisters contain the clear plasma but it may contain pus or blood.

Today we will discuss the causes, types, treatment of blisters and how do they develop on feet.

How do feet blisters develop?​

As stated above, FRICTION is the most common cause of blisters.

When a part of foot skin rub constantly rub against shoe wall and get damaged then blister develop.

Once the skin get damaged due to friction, clear fluids start to collect under the skin to protect the underlying tissues and avoid further damage. It also helps to speed up the healing.

This fluid collect together in a small pocket which is called as a blister.

Types of foot blisters​

Type of feet blisters are divided as per the type of fluid it contain or as per the stages of its development.

According to what it contain 

  • Serum Blisters
  • Blood Blisters
  • Pus Blisters

As per the stages of development 

  • Roof Intact Blister
  • Roof Torn Blister
  • Deroofed Blisters

Usually, they are filled with the clear fluid known as plasma or serum. But sometime it may be filled with either blood or pus.

Blood filled blisters are caused by damaged blood vessels along with damaged skin during development of blister. It appear red or black in color.

Once these blisters get infected, pus start to form and it gets collected in blister giving it a whitish-yellow color.​

​Causes of blisters on feet

​Blisters on feet can be triggered by numerous reasons but there are few leading causes that leads to formation of blisters.

Here are the most common causes -​

  • Recurrent Friction
  • Extreme Heat & Cold
  • Chemical exposure
  • Certain Medical disease

Constant Friction

Poorly fitting shoes is to blame for this.

If you do not pay attention to the size of your shoe, then it can fit too tight or too lose with your feet.

Shoes that fit too tight can start to rub against the sole as well as skin of feet and if not paid attention immediately it causes inflammation of skin that further forms the fluid filled blisters.​

Usually constant friction against the sole of feet causes corn & calluses ​in long run while in short period this friction create blisters.

Heat & Cold​

Blisters can develops after being exposed to extreme heat or cold.

​Intense heat or clod exposure damages the skin tissue causing acute inflammation which leads to blister formation.

Heat - Blisters occur after couple of days in first degree burs while in ​2nd degree burs they tend to come immediately on exposure to heat.

​Sometime sunburns can also trigger blister formation.

Cold - ​Freezing cold can cause frostbite & it may create the blisters on feet. Usually after exposure to extreme cold our body start to push blood supply from extremities (hands & feet) to the center to keep ourselves warm. This leads to the skin tissue damages.​

In second degree of frostbite blisters starts to appear. 

Chemical Exposure

Contact with corrosive chemicals can lead to skin tissue damage & blister formation.

Many liquids like paint, cosmetics and detergents contains different chemical and people may have sensitive skin which adversely reacts to those chemical causing either allergic reaction or blisters formation.

Certain Medical Disease​

Medical disease like herpes, chicken pox, scabies etc. may cause formation of blister over body including the feet.

Treatment of Blisters

Usually foot blisters heals naturally with ​adequate foot rest; provided that they won't get infected.

To avoid infection within blister​, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before touching them and do not break them yourself.

The thumb rule of blister treatment is not to pop them yourself, even if you do, do with a sterilized needle.​

​1. Blisters with roof intact

​This is actually an unburst blister and probably free from infection. So, it is important not to prick it to avoid infection.

Avoid wearing shoes that rub against blisters and provide adequate rest to foot. This will​ ensure that blister does not get burst and start healing naturally.

Though, providing an advice not to wear shoes is an easy task to talk about but practically it is not possible for many people. So, even if you wear the shoes try to dress your blister with clean, sterile primapore iseland dressing.​

2. Blisters with roof torn (Burst blisters)​

Burst blisters are likely to catch an infection if not treated properly.

  • Wash your hand thoroughly and clean blisters with antiseptic​s.
  • Dress the blister properly.
  • Avoid applying pressure & friction.
  • Watch for any infection.

Throbbing pain, redness, pus formation are few common signs of secondary infection of blisters.

Resources


Knapik JJ, Reynolds KL, Duplantis KL, Jones BH. Friction blisters: pathophysiology, prevention and treatment. Sports Med. 1995;20:136–147. [PubMed]

Featured Image via – Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Sachin
 

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