A foot blister may be small in size, but it can be a big pain for a person who enjoys being active. Read on and learn how to address this irritating injury.

Blisters are caused by repetitive friction that overstretches the skin and causes irritation.

What causes a foot blister?

A blister is caused by repetitive friction that overstretches the skin. When rubbed against footwear, for example, skin can become irritated, causing a small bubble of fluid to form on its surface. Foot blisters can be sensitive to the touch and create a painful stinging sensation.

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Treating a foot blister

Follow this protocol to treat a foot blister:

  • Wash the blister. Gently wash your blister with warm water and soap. Dry your foot with a clean towel.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment if the blister has torn open. Carefully apply topical antibiotic ointment to the affected area. This helps to protect against infection. Do not remove the torn skin.
  • Cover the blister with a bandage. Dress the affected area with a bandage. This will help to cushion and protect the blister against rubbing and irritation. Keep the affected area dry and replace the bandage with a new one every day.
  • Keep pressure off the blister. Stay off your feet as much as possible. Avoid putting pressure on the blister. If you suspect your shoes caused the blister, wear a different pair for the next few days—something comfortable that won’t aggravate your injury.

Blisters typically heal within a few to several days if they’re treated carefully. Left unattended, however, a blister might get worse or become infected. Pay attention to it, keeping it clean and dry. If your blister leaks pus and/or continues to swell and redden, visit your health care provider.

Preventing a foot blister

These preventative measures may reduce your chances of getting a blister:

  • Wear properly fitting footwear. Your footwear may be either too tight or too loose, irritating your skin as a result. Wear a well-fitting pair that brings you comfort. Consider putting a shoe insert or moleskin padding on the inside your shoes.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks. Sweat can contribute to friction, which may lead to blisters. Buy some high-quality socks that absorb moisture and protect your skin.
  • Apply athletic tape before activity. Before you exercise, use water-resistant athletic tape to cover the areas of your feet susceptible to blistering, such as the heels, the inside and outside edges, and around the toes. Use scissors to cut the tape into pieces that fit well over these areas. This method can be time-consuming, but it helps to protect your skin.
  • Don’t go too far with brand-new shoes. A long hike or a big race is not the best time to break in a brand-new pair of shoes; instead, use shoes that your feet are already familiar with. It may be best to break in new shoes gradually over time.

Put these blister prevention and treatment tips into practice—they may keep your feet from injury so you can focus on the activities you enjoy.

Learn more:

Tips for Properly Taping an Ankle Injury

Foot and Ankle Injuries That Can Trip Up Runners

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