Too many people suffer from blisters or skin sores on a daily basis. From athletes with sweaty socks to people who wear shoes that don’t fit them properly, nobody is safe from these fluid filled bumps. It’s very important to practice good blister care if you happen to find yourself with the discomfort of one of these pesky bubbles. Even more importantly, it’s good to know how to prevent them in the first place.
What is a Blister?
A blister is a small bump on the skin that is filled with fluid. It forms as a protective barrier against damage to the underlying tissue, but unfortunately it can also be very painful and uncomfortable.
There are a number of reasons for a blister to form. The most common is because of friction. Your skin will rub up against fabric (usually your shoes or socks) and a fluid-filled bubble will form. For this friction to occur there needs to be a bit of moisture, but not enough to be extremely slippery. Your shoes have just the right amount of dampness from sweat to make them a perfect place for friction to occur.
They may also develop due to extreme heat or cold (burns or frostbite), hammertoes, spider bites, reactions to chemical exposure, or because of trauma. Some blisters, known as vesicles, are very small and are too small to drain. They can be the result of other diseases including herpes, impetigo, chicken pox and sometimes athlete's foot.
Prevention of Blisters
Taking a little extra care can go a long way toward preventing these fluid bubbles. First of all you need to make sure that your footwear is up to par. Pick shoes that allow your feet a bit of wiggle room so that they aren’t crammed together tightly, but that aren’t slippery enough to allow too much friction to be created.
Also important are your socks. Socks can lock moisture against your skin, or they can wick it away. Steer clear of cotton socks and instead go with nylon as they tend to keep the dampness to a minimum.
If there is an area of your foot that is more prone to blisters, you can protect it with a moleskin pad. There are also several different types of powders and creams that can lessen the amount of friction you experience while running or walking.
Treatment for Skin Sores
If you do end up with a blister, you can usually treat it with at-home remedies. If the blister is small you should leave it alone and let it heal on its own. You can cover it with a protective bandage to help with the discomfort, but for the most part it should be left unbothered.
However, should you find yourself with a large skin sore that is interfering with your daily activities or ability to walk, there is something you can do. Draining a blister might seem daunting, but it can be done at home if you take proper precautions. Using a sterilized needle, you simply poke a hole where the normal skin and the blister meet and drain out the fluid with some sterile gauze. When you are done, apply a bit of antibacterial ointment and cover with a bandage. Do this only if you are completely healthy otherwise. If you have diabetes, under no circumstances should you poke yourself with anything sharp. Come in to our office and we will do it for you safely.
Getting Medical Help
If you have concerns about whether you should drain your own blister, don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, or would just like some more information on blister care, call Dr. Mark Gasparini at (516) 804-9038 to schedule an appointment in our Massapequa, NY office.