Whether you went on a long hike or were trying to break in new shoes, a painful blister has developed on your foot. You may wonder what the right way to treat blisters is, after all, there are many myths on how to do so. Should you use gauze or moleskin to cover the blister? Should you pop it or let it be? Here is a guide for the right way to treat a blister so you can reduce pain and prevent infection.
Gauze Or Moleskin?
If you have a blister, then you should cover it with a bandage (like gauze) to protect it. However, if the blister is located in an area that bears weight (like the bottom of your foot), then there is a different way to protect it. You will use a doughnut-shaped moleskin pad, putting the hole in the middle of the “doughnut” over the blister. Using moleskin in this way will relieve pressure off of the blister.
Pop Or Don’t Pop?
If you have a blister, then you should avoid popping it. Though doing so relieves pain, it can expose the area to bacteria, which may result in infection. If the blister is very painful or you cannot walk because of it, then visit Dr. Feldman for treatment. Leaving the blister intact is the best treatment, but if you do decide to pop it, then follow these steps:
Clean your hands and the blister with warm, soapy water.
Swab the blister and a sharp needle with rubbing alcohol.
Use the needle to puncture the blister in several places near the edge.
Let the blister drain, but leave the overlying skin intact (this skin will protect the blister from infection).
Apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and cover it with a gauze pad.
In the following days, apply more ointment and change the dressing.
Do not attempt to pop the blister if you have diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV, or any other condition that weakens your immune system because you will have a higher risk for infection. If your blister shows swelling, redness, or if you experience fever or increased pain, then you may have developed an infection and should seek medical aid. Call our podiatrist if you want to learn more about treating blisters.