Read below about foot blister, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your foot blister from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Foot Blister Symptoms

Americans average less than 5,000 steps per day. While less than the recommended amount, it's still an awful lot of work for your feet.

Because of their consistent use, injuries to the feet are not uncommon. One of the most annoying is the dreaded foot blister.

How concerned should you be about a foot blister?

Before we can answer that, let's see how many associated foot blister symptoms you're experiencing.

  • Pain from pressure
  • Raised portion of the skin
  • Light bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Difficulty walking

Classified as small pockets of fluid (possible fluids include serum, plasma, blood, pus, or lymph), blisters can vary in size and severity.

Getting a foot blister is easy. Luckily, the treatment for one is also simple. Before you whip out ointment and a band aid, determine the cause of your blister first. This will ensure proper treatment and that preventative measures are taken to avoid a second occurrence.

Foot Blister Causes Overview

There are obvious foot blister causes, like excess friction, and some surprising reasons, like chemical exposure.

Trauma:

  • Pressure: Pressure and friction can lead to blisters. Whether you stand or walk for hours on end, a change in your normal activity level can irritate the skin and lead to a bubble.
  • Unsafe conditions: Exposing your foot to extreme conditions, both hot and cold, can lead to blisters. Frostbite is one example. After skin has thawed from excessively cold temperatures, blisters typically form. Sunburn and overly hot water can also cause blisters.

Reactions:

  • Allergic: Whether it's from direct contact or due to a skin condition like dyshidrotic eczema, blisters can form on the feet due to an allergic reaction. These can last for several weeks and the allergen must be removed.
  • Chemical: Chemical burns range in severity but most require some degree of medical intervention. Blisters are one side effect of a chemical reaction, along with peeling and red skin.

Infections:

  • Fungal: The foot is an ideal breeding ground for fungi. Athlete's foot and ringworm are just two examples of fungal infections that can cause foot blisters.
  • Bacterial: A cut on the foot that becomes infected with bacteria can develop a blister. Look for signs of a serious infection, like pus or red lines.

Environmental foot blister causes:

  • Moisture changes : Walking around in wet socks or going on vacation in a drier climate than you're used to are two ways your skin's moisture levels can be agitated, leading to blisters.
  • Clothing: Wearing itchy socks or shoes that are too tight can cause friction that leads to foot blisters.

You'll want to treat foot blister symptoms as quickly as possible, but before you reach for a needle, keep the following in mind.

  • Only pop a blister if it is likely to be further irritated. The skin beneath should be kept clean to prevent infection.
  • If you feel popping the blister is necessary, use a sterilized needle to make a small hole and allow the fluid to drain.
  • If the fluid is anything but clear, an infection is likely.
  • Apply an antibiotic cream to the area.
  • Monitor the area for signs of infection until it has cleared. If necessary, seek medical attention for an infection that becomes overly painful or worsens.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Foot Blister

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced foot blister. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Friction Blister on the Foot

    Friction blisters are very common among both men and women of all ages. They most commonly affect the feet due to lifting heavy loads, repetitive overuse, or ill-fitting shoes. The layers of skin become separated from mechanical force, and the body fills the gap with fluid.

    Friction blisters should begin to heal within 1-2 weeks.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    foot pain, foot blister, blister likely from friction, constant skin changes, foot skin changes
    Symptoms that always occur with friction blister on the foot:
    foot blister, blister likely from friction
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  3. 3.Allergic Reaction to Poison Ivy / Oak / Sumac

    Plants of the Toxicodendron genus are found throughout the continental United States, and exposure to these plants is a leading cause of contact dermititis, a medical term used to describe irritation and itching of the skin.

    With treatment, symptoms should resolve from a few days to two weeks.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash, itchy rash, red rash, skin changes on arm, stinging or burning rash
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac:
    itchy rash, rash
    Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Bullous Impetigo

    Bullous Impetigo is a skin infection that causes large blisters that is caused by streptococcus (strep) or staphylococcus (staph) bacteria. Methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) is becoming a common cause.

    2-3 days with treatment. Weeks without treatment.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    moderate fever, constant skin changes, facial skin changes, severe fever, crusty rash
    Symptoms that always occur with bullous impetigo:
    facial skin changes, constant skin changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Foot Blister Treatments and Relief

As mentioned, a trip to the doctor is rare when it comes to foot blister cases.

If you notice the following foot blister symptoms, schedule an appointment to be safe.

  • Continual drainage of pus
  • Severe pain when applying pressure
  • A blister that keeps coming back
  • Any other sign of infection, such as redness or excessive warmth

If you're avoiding the needle (which is recommended), here are a few ways you can regulate your discomfort and speed up the healing of your foot blister symptoms.

  • Avoid pressure: When making major changes to your activity levels, try to do so gradually. Avoiding excess pressure on your feet will help prevent blisters or speed up the healing of existing ones.
  • Change clothing: Opt for cotton socks that let your feet breathe and avoid shoes that don't fit just right.
  • Witch hazel: Witch hazel's astringent tannins will help dry out a foot blister without taking the risk of popping it. Apply it gently using a cotton ball.

The next time you spot a bubble on your foot, you can assume a blister is brewing. By taking the proper steps, you can speed up its healing and prevent infection.

FAQs About Foot Blister

Here are some frequently asked questions about foot blister.

Should you pop a blister on your foot?

Friction blisters on the foot occur when repeated trauma and shear forces separate the epidermis and dermis of the foot. These blisters tend to resolve normally without intervention and should not be popped. If possible, a bandage that surrounds the blister and takes pressure off of it is the best way to treat the blister while avoiding further injury or infection.

Is there a safe way to drain a blister?

Generally, the principles of any type of wound treatment apply to a blister. Use sterile tools cleaned with a disinfectant or heat-treated to lance and drain a blister and then remove excess skin. The blister can then be treated with a dry bandage. You should avoid using dirty tools and treating a blister with wet salves.

How long does it take for a blister to heal?

A blister, once properly treated, should heal anywhere from seven to ten days. If the blister begins to become inflamed or emit pus, it may be infected and you should seek medical care and possibly antibiotics. It is, however, uncommon to obtain an infection as long as the wound is kept dry and clean.

What is the fluid in a blister?

Blisters can contain many different types of fluids or mixtures of fluids. The most common types of fluids include plasma (or blood without the red blood cells), blood, lymph (the fluid from the lymphatic system generally full of white blood cells), and pus if the blister is infected in some way.

Why do my blisters hurt?

Blisters hurt because the epidermis, which generally dulls sensation, has been unrooted from the dermis which holds the pressure and pain sensations. Because of this, a light touch feels painful because there is less padding of the less sensitive dermis.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Foot Blister

  • Q.Do any of your body parts (e.g., toes, hands, ears) feel cold?
  • Q.What fluid is in your blister?
  • Q.Are you having any difficulty walking?
  • Q.Do you drink alcohol?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our foot blister symptom checker to find out more.

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Foot Blister Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced foot blister have also experienced:

    • 8% Foot / Toe Itch
    • 3% Foot Pain
    • 3% Blister on the Hand
  • People who have experienced foot blister had symptoms persist for:

    • 42% Less Than a Week
    • 30% Less Than a Day
    • 11% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced foot blister were most often matched with:

    • 66% Cellulitis
    • 16% Friction Blister on the Foot
    • 16% Allergic Reaction to Poison Ivy / Oak / Sumac
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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