Blisters on Feet
Causes, Signs, Solutions and Prevention
What are blisters on feet?
Blisters on feet are small, raised pockets of fluid that occur in the upper layers of the skin.1
Blisters on the foot develop from excessive friction (or rubbing), like when the skin of the foot rubs against an ill-fitting shoe.1
Blisters on feet can be painful but generally do not require medical attention, unless they are really bad, seem infected, keep coming back, or if they are caused by burns.1
Blisters can occur anywhere there is friction, for example blisters on the bottom of the foot, on the heel or between the toes.1
What commonly causes blisters on the foot?
Most blisters on the foot form when intense friction causes a tear between layers of the skin that then fills with fluid.1,2
A cause of this friction is wearing shoes that don’t fit properly.1 Blisters on feet are more likely to develop if your feet are damp.2
What are the signs of blisters on the foot?
A blister on the bottom of feet can appear as a raised lump filled with clear fluid.1,2Sometimes blisters on feet may contain blood and the size of a foot blister can vary.1
How to manage blisters on feet
One way to manage a foot blister is to allow it to heal naturally by removing all pressure on the area and protecting it with a plaster or blister shield.1,3
Resist the urge to burst a blister on the foot—you could cause an infection or interfere with your body’s natural healing.
If a blister on the foot has popped, clean it immediately with antiseptic. Do not remove the blister ‘roof’—this protects the underlying tissue. Cover the blister roof with a non-adhesive dressing and change the dressing regularly.1,3
If a blister on the foot has been completely deroofed, clean the area with antiseptic and then cover the wound with a blister shield.3
See your doctor or other health professional for treatment if a blister on the foot starts weeping pus (thick yellow or green fluid) or if the surrounding area becomes swollen or inflamed.1
How to prevent blisters on feet
Wear shoes that fit properly.1,2
For shoes with laces, tie them so the pressure is comfortable–not too loose or too tight.2
If your shoes are rubbing, try using cushioning gel inserts or cover the areas of friction with adhesive tape.2
Keep your feet dry—wet shoes and socks can cause friction.1
If you have sweaty feet, change your socks frequently or use moisture-wicking socks. Use an antiperspirant foot spray to limit excessive foot perspiration or a foot powder to absorb excessive foot sweat.1,2
Wear appropriate socks when you exercise or play sports.1
Gradually break in new shoes to reduce the occurrence of blisters on the feet.2
Optimising your general foot health
A simple maintenance routine can help to keep the skin on your feet healthy:4
- Daily care: Wash and dry your feet thoroughly and apply moisturiser every day
- Footwear: Ensure that your shoes fit properly (both in width and length) and are appropriate for your activity
- Appearance: Check the appearance of your feet regularly for any changes
- Movement and flexibility: Check that you can move your feet easily, without discomfort; some simple stretches may help
- Referral: Speak with your GP, pharmacist, or podiatrist if you have any concerns about your foot health