Whether you walk, hike, run, or dance, your feet can take a lot of abuse. But when you’re particularly active, you can easily injure or otherwise damage your feet, especially if you have ill-fitting socks and shoes.
With enough friction, a blister can form on your toes or the sole of your foot. In some cases, a simple blister can turn into a blood blister. But while you may be used to the sight of a common blister, you may be unsure of what to do with a blood blister.
To help you better care for your blood blister, we’ll address several dos and don’ts for treating this minor injury. We’ll also talk about what a blood blister is and what causes it.
What Is a Blood Blister?
A blood blister is essentially a blister where the blood vessels beneath the blister have been damaged. As a result, the blood leaks into the blister. Most often, blood blisters form in bony areas, but they can develop in softer areas as well.
What Causes a Blood Blister?
Blood blisters can form in areas under excess pressure and friction. For instance, if you go running for an extended period of time and the bony parts of your feet constantly rub against the inside of your shoes, you might develop a blood blister on your toes or the side of your foot.
You can also get a blood blister when your skin has been severely pinched. The pressure can easily damage the blood vessels without actually breaking the skin.
How Do You Treat a Blood Blister?
Blood blisters can be painful, and you may feel tempted to lance the blister as soon as possible. But there are wrong and right ways to treat your blood blister. For a full, quick recovery, you want to take the proper steps.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common dos and don’ts for treating your blood blister.
DO Elevate and Ice Your Blister
Once you get a blood blister, elevate the injury to reduce swelling and minimize its size. If your blood blister hurts, especially if it was a result of pinching, use an ice bag wrapped in a towel or a cold compress. Icing the blister can numb the pain a little.
DON’T Lance Your Blood Blister
With blood blisters, refrain from popping them, and instead let it dry and flatten on its own. If the skin over the blister is broken, you could get an infection or a scar. The only time you should consider lancing a blood blister is if it’s excessively large, and even then, you need to use the right tools and procedures to keep the wound clean.
DO Bandage Your Blister
If you’re concerned your blister will pop on its own, bandage it properly to protect it from friction and pressure. For small blisters, use adhesive bandages, but if the blister is a bit larger and protrudes from the skin, you may want to use moleskin bandages.
If the moleskin bandages aren’t already precut for blisters, cut a hole in the bandage and place the hole right over the blister. This bandage provides a little padding around the blister to prevent it from hitting anything or rubbing on the inside of your shoe. Once you place the moleskin bandage, put an adhesive bandage over it to seal away the blister and further protect it from friction.
DON’T Peel Away Skin Over the Blister
No matter what you do, blisters can still pop or the skin may simply become loose as the blister heals. Don’t remove any of this skin, even if the blister is already broken. Peeling away this skin can further expose the wound to infection, so keep it in place if you can.
DO Clean a Broken Blister
Should your blood blister break accidentally, be sure you thoroughly clean your wound with antiseptics, then apply antibacterial cream or lotion before bandaging the blister up. Taking the time to clean your wound can prevent complications down the road.
DON’T Wear Bad Shoes
As you get ready in the morning, you may eye your favorite pair of pumps or dress shoes. But these shoes may be part of the problem. If you have a blood blister, try wearing breathable shoes with a little wiggle room for your toes.
Flip flops can be a great option, but if you can’t wear open-toed shoes at work, wear a pair of comfortable, fitted sneakers. When you wear socks, be sure your socks are also fitted.
Too much or too little moisture can also cause blood blisters. If your feet are particularly moist after a run, be sure to use moisture-wicking socks or foot powder. Should you not have enough moisture, try rubbing your feet with Vaseline or moisturizing skin cream before a run.
DO Seek Help When You Need It
Blisters can be painful, but if you notice more pain than usual or redness and warmth around the blister, find professional help. You may have an infection, and you’ll want to get that treated right away. Even if you don’t have an infection, seek medical help if you notice anything off about your blood blister or the blister is particularly large and painful.
At The Advanced Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois, we can help you care for any blood blisters on your feet, and if you get blood blisters often, we can find the root of the problem and help you make the right changes to keep your feet in great shape.