A blister is a small pocket of fluid found in the outer layers of the skin. The pocket of fluid forms as two layers of skin become separated. Typically, rubbing or friction causes this separation but burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection can also be the cause. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid called serum or plasma and cover a small area of the body. Blisters can also be filled with blood or pus. These blisters require immediate medical attention.
The majority of blisters formed on feet are caused by friction. This is typically due to ill-fitting shoes or an increase in activity. These blisters are clear and should heal by themselves. Once the irritation is removed, new skin will form underneath and the fluid is simply absorbed back into the foot. Many times blisters pop or the top layer of skin gets ripped off. This is ok, and the area should be treated as any other scrape or sore.
Treatment of blisters should start by removing the cause. Blisters can also be soothed with vitamin E ointment or another aloe-based cream. It is important not to puncture a blister unless it is painful. If you have to pop the blister, use a sterilized needle or razor blade. It is also a good idea to wash the area before and after making a small hole and gently squeezing out the clear fluid. Make sure to cover the area with a bandage and antibiotic ointment.
Blisters can be prevented by breaking in new shoes gradually. Try wearing a new pair for only a few hours and then switching back to a trusted pair. Make sure to always wear socks and acrylic or other synthetic-fiber socks are good choices. Petroleum jelly or other friction reducing gels can also be applied to the foot and ankle to help prevent blisters.