Bubbles can be fun, but they can also signal damage. People blow bubbles in soap for entertainment but complain when they appear in paint on a wall or new linoleum. Bubbles in your body are painful. When they appear in the skin on your feet, you develop skin sores called blisters.
Your skin is versatile. It has to be able to protect your body’s interior from outside forces and pathogens, while still remaining flexible enough to stretch and move with you. Still, pressure and friction can cause damage. Blisters are fluid-filled bubbles that appear in the skin when it has been subjected to an extended period of rubbing. The damaged top layers of skin separate from the lower layers to protect them. The space between then fills with clear serum. The resulting bump is very sensitive to the touch, which can make it painful to wear shoes or participate in some activities.
These sores develop fairly quickly. Wearing too-tight or stiff footwear can create one or more in just one day—or even a few hours. You can develop blisters almost immediately from other sources, too, like second-degree burns from extreme heat. Some first degree burns, chemicals, and allergies may cause vesicles to pop up a few days after the initial exposure. Even some infections can raise these bumps on the skin.
Usually small sores like these aren’t serious, but they can become infected. They are a weak point in the skin where bacteria could potentially enter. If a blister develops an infection but stays intact, the fluid inside may fill with pus and ooze.
Soothing the Skin
There are many ways you can care for small skin sores like these. If you have diabetes or some other condition that negatively affects your immune system, they need prompt care to prevent complications. Dr. Darren Silvester and our Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic team can help you manage the painful spots safely, so they heal instead of deteriorating. We can also help you determine what probably caused the blisters, so you can work to prevent them in the future.
If the blister is intact, try not to puncture it. Instead, clean it with soap and water. Then cover it with a bandage and pad to help reduce pressure on the vesicle. Icing the spot periodically can help with any discomfort. Avoid wearing tight shoes that aggravate the problem as well. If the sore has already ruptured, clean it carefully and rub antibacterial cream over it to help prevent infections. Then bandage and pad the vulnerable area. Since diabetes so dramatically increases your risk for ulcers, if you have the disease, all sores, even small ones, should be checked by our staff rather than just caring for them at home.
We may need to drain particularly painful blisters. We will wash the affected area, then use a sterilized needle to puncture the edge of the bubble and slowly drain the fluid. After that we’ll treat the area to prevent infections and cover it in a bandage.
Avoiding the Sores
Preventing these sores in the first place can save you a world of trouble. You need to protect your skin from friction. This may mean changing your shoes or socks so your footwear doesn’t squeeze or rub your feet. Padding or taping high-friction areas, particularly when you’re active, can help reduce rubbing and discomfort. Keep your feet dry, too—sweaty moisture makes blisters more likely.
Blisters are painful little injuries that can make it uncomfortable for you to wear many types of shoes or participate in some activities. They are common problems with easy treatments, though, so you don’t have to limp around when one appears. Let Dr. Darren Silvester at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic help you manage skin issues on your lower limbs. You can make an appointment by submitting a form through our website, or by calling our Pleasanton, TX, office at (830) 569-3338.