Blister Blues: What Exactly is a Blister? - Triad Foot & Ankle Center

Blister Blues: What Exactly is a Blister?

Ouch! You didn’t take the time to break in those hiking boots, you grabbed the wrong socks, or you couldn’t resist those sky-high heels and now you’re paying the price. There’s nothing like a blister to ruin a good day.

A blister occurs when fluid—pus, blood, or watery serum—accumulates under the top layer of skin and creates a painful little bubble, often as a reaction to rubbing or compression.   As common and preventable as they may be, blisters can still be a serious problem, and if left untreated they can lead to even more serious problems.

The fluid-filled sac is your body’s way of trying to provide a temporary cushion to the irritated spot, but the cushion generally doesn’t last long. Typically the blister will go down on its own and the fluid will be reabsorbed into your body. But too often the top layer gets rubbed off or you pop the blister on your own, leaving the layer of skin covered by the blister known as dermis, which is full of nerve endings and highly vulnerable to infection, unprotected.  (No wonder a blister hurts!)

If you are otherwise healthy the wound should heal on its own in three to seven days (keep it clean and covered); if it takes longer than that, or if the area gets red, hot, painful, or keeps draining blood or other fluids don’t delay in having a doctor look at it.

On the other hand, if you have diabetes or any other health problems that affects your nerves and/or your circulation you should call your podiatrist as soon as a blister appears.  A small broken blister can become a large and even life-threatening problem if it morphs into cellulitis or some other serious infection.  If you have neuropathy you might not notice a blister until it has gone bad, so check your feet every day; some doctors recommend that you wear light-colored socks so you can see blood or seepage even when you can’t feel it.

Don’t let a blister get the best of you.  If you have any concerns schedule an appointment with one of Triad Foot & Ankle Center’s highly skilled podiatrists in Greensboro, Burlington, and Asheboro; call 336-375-6990 or click here to request an appointment 

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