Ask a doctor: ‘What should I do about foot blisters?’

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Got blisters? Here are answers.

Painful foot blisters can put a damper very quickly on vacation plans, exercise or even daily errands — but there are steps you can take to help them heal as quickly as possible. 

Fox News Digital reached out to two podiatrists for their professional advice, including treatment of existing blisters and prevention of future sores.

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What causes foot blisters?

In most cases, blisters develop on the feet due to ill-fitting shoes — but they can also stem from medical conditions.

Painful foot blisters can quickly put a damper on vacation plans, exercise or even daily errands — but there are steps you can take to help them heal as quickly as possible.  (iStock)

Excessive friction is the most common cause, according to Dr. Alex Kor, a podiatrist with Hendricks Regional Health in Danville, Indiana. 

This can come from increased activity in a short period of time, often from wearing new shoes that haven’t been broken in yet, the doctor told Fox News Digital.

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Blisters can also occur when a bony pressure point, such as a bunion, gets too much friction from a new shoe or excessive activity in a short period of time.

Other potential causes include going without socks, wearing worn-out socks or choosing improper shoes that do not offload a source of pressure, Kor warned.

Man foot blister

Excessive friction is the most common cause of blisters, according to a podiatrist. (iStock)

Some medical issues may also cause blisters. 

“Depending on the patient’s medical status, conditions like diabetes and neuropathy can be the cause,” Kor told Fox News Digital. 

“Regardless of the reason for the blister, patients who have poor blood flow to the feet, diabetes or neuropathy should likely consider seeing a podiatrist.”

Ways to treat a foot blister

If you do develop a foot blister, keeping it clean will speed up the healing process, experts say. 

“It is highly suggested to cleanse the blister with soapy water, dry the area and cover it with a dressing on a daily basis,” said Kor. 

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It’s not a good idea to skip the dressing and allow the site to “get air,” the doctor said.

If your foot blister was due to friction, Kor recommended avoiding the shoes or activity that caused the problem.  

Bandages on heels

“It is highly suggested to cleanse the blister with soapy water, dry the area and cover with a dressing on a daily basis,” a podiatrist said.  (iStock)

If a blister is accompanied by itching, there is the strong possibility that fungus could be the culprit, according to Kor. 

“A topical over-the-counter antifungal cream or ointment is suggested if the fungus is on the top, bottom or side of foot, and an antifungal powder is suggested if the blister is between the toes,” he advised.

When should you seek medical attention?

Patients should see a doctor if they have poor blood flow to the feet, diabetes, neuropathy or a history of previous amputations, according to Kor.

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A doctor should also be involved if the blisters are accompanied by chills, fever, night sweats and/or red streaks coming from the area, which can be signs of infection. 

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You should also call a doctor if the blister has pus or yellow drainage; if the surrounding skin is red, hot and swollen; or if the blister is caused by a sunburn or frostbite, according to Dr. Saylee Tulpule, a podiatrist with Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Preventing blisters during summer travel

If your summer travel plans involve going to theme parks, hiking or lots of walking, proper foot care is essential to prevent blisters, experts agree. 

Bandage on heel

“It is also important to carry a first-aid kit during travel to manage any bleeding or pain, including topical antibiotic, gauze, tape and bandages,” an expert advised. (iStock)

“To prevent blisters during summer travel, it is important to wear properly fitted shoes or sandals,” Tulpule told Fox News Digital. 

“I always tell my patients to visit a shoe store or running store and find the right length and width — and always break in new shoes for three to four weeks prior to traveling.” 

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To further protect feet, Tulpule recommended adding moleskin padding to shoes or taping it to the skin to prevent rubbing. 

“It is also important to carry a first-aid kit during travel to manage any bleeding or pain, including topical antibiotics, gauze, tape and bandages,” she added.