Foot Blisters

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Foot Blisters

A blister is a small pocket of body fluid (lymph, serum, plasma, blood, or pus) within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing (friction), burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid, either serum or plasma.[1] However, blisters can be filled with blood (known as "blood blisters") or with pus (if they become infected).

The word "blister" entered English in the 14th century. It came from the Middle Dutch "bluyster" and was a modification of the Old French "blostre", which meant a leprous nodule—a rise in the skin due to leprosy. In dermatology today, the words vesicle and bulla refer to blisters of smaller or greater size, respectively.

To heal properly, a blister should not be popped unless medically necessary. If popped, the excess skin should not be removed because the skin underneath needs that top layer to heal properly.

In general, blisters are round or oval bubbles of fluid under the skin that may be painful or itchy, or they may not cause any symptoms. Symptoms vary depending on the cause.

Irritation, burns and allergies — Blisters caused by friction or burns are usually painful. Blisters resulting from eczema can be accompanied by redness, severe itching and small bumps on the affected skin.
Infections — When blisters are caused by an infection, the symptoms depend on the type of infection. Examples include:
Bullous impetigo — The affected skin can redden, and the blisters may burst easily.
Herpes simplex virus — When herpes simplex type 1 is the cause, the tiny blisters commonly are known as fever blisters or cold sores. They typically appear on the lips. The affected skin may itch, tingle, swell and become red before the blisters appear. When the blisters eventually break, they leak fluid, and then painful sores develop. Herpes simplex type 2 is the most common cause of genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection (although type 1 also can cause genital herpes). Generally, small red bumps appear before blisters develop in the affected area, typically the vaginal area or penis, the buttocks and thighs, or the anus. Other symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headache and burning with urination.
Varicella zoster virus — When this virus causes chickenpox, the infection starts with a diffuse, itchy rash that develops quickly into itchy blisters. Varicella zoster also can cause shingles (herpes zoster). People with shingles may experience small, painful blisters that usually erupt in a linear pattern along the length of an infected nerve.
If you have blisters on your feet, friction may be the culprit. Walking or standing for several hours a day puts pressure on the heels, soles, and toes. The longer you’re on your feet during the day, the greater your risk for feet blisters.

Of course, not everyone who walks or stands for long periods develops blisters. In many instances, these fluid-filled bubbles result from poorly fitted shoes. Shoes that fit too tightly or too loosely can rub against the skin. This causes friction, and as a result, fluid builds up underneath the upper layer of skin.

Excessive moisture or perspiration can also trigger these skin bubbles. This is common during warm seasons among athletes, particularly runners. Tiny blisters form when sweat clogs the pores in the feet.

Feet blisters can also develop after a sunburn. Other possible causes of blisters on the feet include:

allergic reaction
chemical exposure (cosmetics or detergents)
fungal infections
bacterial infection
dyshidrotic eczema
In most cases, the best way to treat blisters on the feet is to leave them alone. Most blisters heal after a few days with basic care.

It is important always to leave both clear and bloody blisters intact. While they can be painful, blisters are a natural defensive mechanism. They help reduce pressure and protect underlying tissues.

Blisters also help seal off damaged tissues and prevent bacteria, viruses, and fungus from entering the wound. 

Once a blister develops, a person should stop putting pressure on it immediately. Once it has broken and drained, the area around the blister can be very gently washed with soap and water. People should then cover the area with a sterile, dry, breathable dressing, such as gauze or a loose bandage.

For chemical or allergy blisters, it is vital to immediately stop exposure to the irritant and thoroughly wash the skin.

Additional treatments for clear and blood blisters on the feet include:

applying an ice pack, wrapped in a thick towel or blanket, to the blister gently, without pressure 
using over-the-counter blister bandages to cover the affected area
raising the foot with a chair or pillow to reduce blood flow to the area and limit inflammation
keeping the area as dry as possible to aid healing
removing the footwear or socks that caused the blister 
applying antibiotic ointments or creams gently to the blister and surrounding skin
cleaning the area and reduce inflammation and pain with over-the-counter solutions, such as hydrogen peroxide or apple cider vinegar
A few days after the blister has opened, a person should use a small pair of sterilized scissors or tweezers to remove the remaining dead skin. They should be sure not to pull too hard and tear healthy skin.

Foot Blisters