A blister is a transparent skin blister which contains a lot of fluid. They can occur all over the body and there are different types. For example, you may suffer from burn blisters, frostbite blisters, blood blisters and/or pressure blisters. The latter is the most common and will now be described in more detail.
Pressure blisters are caused by friction and pressure on your feet, hands, fingers and/or toes. The risk of friction is higher if you:
- Wear shoes which are too small or too large.
- Have a toe condition which leaves too little space between them.
- Do lots of intensive sports or walking.
- Don’t wear proper socks.
- Carry out frequent and intensive work with your hands.
Friction causes your epidermis (top layer of skin) to loosen and a cavity can be created between your epidermis and dermis (the layer of skin under the epidermis). This cavity can then fill with fluid, which can cause a blister to form. This can cause pain when walking or if something rubs against it.
Pressure blisters may result in you suffering from:
- Redness of the skin.
- Blisters on the skin.
- Pain when walking or grabbing hold of things. The pain is worst when pressure is applied to the blister.
The blister can open due to friction and pressure. The fluid in the blister then drains out. This relieves the pain, but increases the risk of infection. That’s why it’s important for you to take good care of the blister.
You can take care of pressure blisters yourself by:
- Picking at them as little as possible. Most blisters will dry up on their own, so there is no need to puncture a blister. You should never do this yourself, as it should always be done in a sterile manner to prevent infections.
- Disinfect the skin around the blister with a disinfectant. This is available from the chemist or pharmacy.
- Apply a blister plaster to your blister. This will prevent the blister from opening up due to friction and reduces the symptoms when walking or grabbing hold of things. Blister plasters can be purchased from the chemist or pharmacy.
- Cover open blisters with sterile non-adhesive gauze or a plaster. These will stop bacteria from getting into the open blister, preventing it from getting infected.
Of course it’s always better to avoid getting pressure blisters altogether. You can do this by:
- Wearing appropriate shoes.
- Wearing appropriate and seamless socks.
- Taping your feet if you do a lot of sports or walking.
- Using gloves if you frequently and intensively work with your hands.
In most cases you won’t need to contact your GP for a blister. Is the blister bothering you a great deal, or has the blister become infected? Then we recommend:
- Having the blister punctured and/or taken care of by your GP or a chiropodist. They will disinfect the skin around the blister and ensure the remaining skin remains in place. The opening of the skin will be covered up by a skin-friendly gauze. This will prevent infections and will speed up recovery.
Has the blister suddenly appeared and with no apparent cause? Then contact your GP immediately. Are the blisters the result of a foot condition? Then you’ll also need to ask your GP for advice. This may include your GP referring you to a local podiatrist. He or she can subsequently provide you with advice regarding possible aids and/or the right footwear for your feet.