What is a Blister?

A blister is an elevated area of skin with a fluid-filled pocket. It can form on any part of the body and is caused by friction from ill-fitting shoes, extreme heat or cold, chemical exposure, minor burns, chronic irritation, infections and certain diseases. Blisters come in many different sizes and shapes, ranging from tiny bumps to large crystalline structures filled with clear fluid. In most cases, these bubbles will rupture easily, resulting in intense exercise pain but may also be accompanied by some soreness after the initial burst. 

How do you know you have a Blister?

When a blister has formed, you will notice the area is tender to the touch. There may also be swelling and reddening of the skin surrounding the area. You also might see a bubble filled with clear fluid on or under your skin where there was previously an abrasion, cut, or irritation. With time, a thin layer of hard skin forms overtop and keeps it in place while continuing to heal underneath. After the healing process, any hard scab-like residue can be carefully removed without causing further damage.

What Causes Blisters? 

Blisters are typically caused by friction. They form when the outer layer of skin rubs against an object for a prolonged period and becomes inflamed. This generally happens when your feet stay in the water with shoes on or you don't wear appropriate shoes that fit correctly, resulting in poor circulation. The continual rubbing forces fluid to accumulate under the affected area to build up as a protective cushion between your skin and the shoe or surface that is irritating, forming what we know as blisters. 

Blister forms can also be caused by chemical reactions between objects like fabrics and can even be an adverse reaction to certain medications like chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients.

Recognize 5 Distinct Types of Skin Blistering: 

  1. Heat blisters: These are caused by extreme heat, chemical exposure, and friction from clothing or other materials on the skin. 
  2. Contact dermatitis blisters: These occur when an individual has a sensitivity (such as allergies) to certain fabrics or chemicals that come in contact with their skin. |
  3. Allergic reaction blisters: These can be caused by ingesting an allergen or applying an irritating product onto the skin. 
  4. Bullous impetigo blisters: This bacterial infection produces round, fluid-filled sores on the body's surface that may ooze pus and later scar once they heal up. |
  5. Cold sores/fever blister: These are small painful red bumps that often appear around the nose, lips, eyes, cheeks and chin area that is caused by virus

All five distinct types of skin blistering should be immediately addressed by consulting with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan tailored specifically to you!

Discover How to Avoid Unwanted Blistering 

Avoiding blisters is best done with prevention in mind. Start by choosing quality shoes and socks that are comfortable and fit correctly, as ill-fitting or low-grade materials can lead to friction which causes blisters. 

For activities where rubbing may be an issue (such as running), consider wearing moisture-wicking socks and even double-layer them if necessary. Break into new shoes gradually by wearing thicker socks for a few weeks until the shoe shapes more comfortably to the foot. 

To prevent blistering when changing temperatures quickly, wear multiple layers so that you can adjust your clothing level depending on how warm or cold it is outside. 

Lastly, adding lubricants such as talcum powder or petroleum jelly on areas of potential rubbing between the skin and sock/shoe will help minimize the chances of developing blisters throughout exercise routines.

Planning Your Next Visit

At Greenberg Podiatry in Ottawa, our team is committed to providing quality care that is both personalized and compassionate. 

We know how critical it is to stay current on medical advancements so that our patients can lead active lives and experience optimum physical health. Our tailored plans look to treat existing problems and anticipate potential issues to prevent future difficulties. We pursue excellence by going above and beyond to provide top-notch healthcare solutions for all our patients.

 Connect with Greenberg Podiatry today and receive personalized advice from our qualified experts. A simple step that can lead to great results!