Regular foot checks will help minimize your risk of foot ulcers.

While foot blisters are simply a nuisance for some, they can lead to serious complications for people with diabetes. Due to decreased circulation and feeling in many diabetic patient’s extremities, it’s possible for a blister to become a diabetic ulcer. With the proper treatment, your chances of developing an ulcer can be minimized.

What causes blisters?

Simply put, friction causes blisters, but not necessarily by the shoe rubbing on the outside layer of skin. The skin on your foot moving relative to the underlying bone is called shear. When shear happens excessively in one place, the tissue tears and fluid fills the injury site.

So, you got a blister

Clean it thoroughly with warm water and soap, and sanitize it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Do this at night when you’ll be off your feet to allow for proper air circulation. Put antibiotic ointment on the area and cover it with a bandage or dressing, especially if you’re putting shoes back on. If you aren’t putting shoes back on, take the pressure off of your feet. This will prevent your feet from swelling. Wait as long as you can to put shoes back on, reducing the friction on the blister, ensuring that the roof doesn’t tear off of it.

Many people wonder if they should pop a blister. While it isn’t necessary, it’s usually safe to pop a small, clear blister. This can be done with a sterilized needle or pin. Do not pop it if your blister is large. This will cause a large opening in the skin, potentially allowing bacteria to enter the wound. It could become a diabetic foot ulcer it it’s not handled properly. If it’s large enough that it’s hard to walk, you should see a doctor. As with all wounds, severe redness and pus are signs of an infection.

Any type of shoe can cause a blister because no two feet fit a shoe exactly the same. Your best bet is to pay attention to frequent problem areas of your feet and plan accordingly when it comes to your footwear and take proper precautions to avoid foot complications. Even if you’re on the way to breaking in a pair of shoes, don’t continue wearing shoes that give you blisters. When investing in a new pair of shoes, be sure that they fit properly in the store.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.