Have you ever felt a sharp pain while walking and noticed a little bump forming on your skin? If you’ve gone running in new shoes, or worn footwear that pinched and rubbed your toes, you’re probably familiar with blisters. These little sores are very painful, though easy to care for if you know what you’re doing.
How Skin Bubbles Form
A blister is a fluid-filled sore in the top layers of the skin, creating a little bubble-like bump on your foot. Typically these develop from friction. Something—often footwear—rubs intensely against your skin over a relatively brief period of time, damaging the top layers. Occasionally other problems, like burns and diseases, cause vesicles like this as well, though that is less common on your lower limbs. The damage causes the top layers of skin to separate from the healthy layers underneath, and your body fills the space between them with a fluid known as serum. This acts as a cushion so the delicate, healthy skin isn’t subjected to friction injuries, too.
The Painful Problem
The bubble that forms is uncomfortable to the touch. It can also provide an opening for infections. For people with preexisting diseases that compromise the immune system (like diabetes), these little sores can be devastating for that reason. Worse, if you have neuropathy, they can break down into serious ulcers quite quickly.
Even for people with perfectly healthy feet, a blister on the foot can make wearing certain shoes and participating in normal activities very difficult. Depending on where the sore is located, you may find it hard to walk normally.
Fortunately, a blister on the foot is easy to treat at home in most cases. You’ll need to wash the sore with soap and water to clean it. Leave the bump intact as best you can—don’t puncture it yourself. Cover the spot with gauze or some other bandage to protect it. If the skin is already ruptured and the fluid drained out, leave the flap of skin intact and cover the sore. Adding a moleskin pad may help reduce the pressure on the spot, particularly if it is on your sole.
If the blister is large and painful, appears to be infected, or you have diabetes, it needs to be properly drained and covered. Dr. Sanjay Patel and our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. can do this without damaging the healthy skin around the sore.
Preventing the Sores
Of course, it’s better to prevent pain than have to deal with it. Preventing friction damage is better for your feet in the long run. Use footwear that fits properly and doesn’t squeeze your toes. Wear fitted socks that wick moisture away from your skin, too. Sometimes runners benefit from wearing two layers of socks—a thin layer against the skin, and a thicker one close to the shoes. Padding areas that seem particularly prone to the problem may help as well.
Blisters don’t have to be a big issue. The right blister care should allow you to manage them at home. If your little sore doesn’t want to heal or becomes infected, you should have it examined by Dr. Sanjay Patel. If you have diabetes, you need to have all lesions on your feet treated right away as a matter of course to prevent complications. Let Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Connecticut help you. Just use the website or call to reach us: (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden office, or (203) 876-7736 for the Milford office.