Blisters are a very common cause of foot pain symptoms. They occur frequently on the bottom of the feet but can also be seen on the top and side of the foot. In the foot at least, the primary cause is friction. The most common cause is a poor fitting shoe combined with an activity that creates excessive friction on a certain part of the foot. You can also get foot blisters from eczema and athletes foot. In addition they can occur from burns and situations where the feet are too moist thus increasing friction. From the excessive friction the upper layer of skin, the epidermis, separates from the middle layer of skin, the dermis. Fluid fills in and the blister is formed. Initially the lesion is formed to actually protect an area but more often than not on the foot the blister will begin to hurt. Note the blisters on the toes in the picture below. In most instances the lesions contain harmless fluid. However, it is not uncommon for some blisters to contain pus (infected) and others to contain blood. A typical scenario that plays out in my practice is an athlete such as a runner or tennis player that has been doing a lot of his sport in hot sticky weather. The excess friction of the sport combined with the wetness of the foot allows easy formation of the blisters. Generally the size and location of the blisters will determine the amount of pain. In a normal healthy individual who has good circulation and is not diabetic blister formation is a minor problem. The key to treating foot blisters and blisters anywhere else that are going to be further subjected to friction is to drain the blister without removing the top portion of it. The best way to do this is to clean a needle with alcohol, then pierce the blister in at least two places. Put pressure on the cap of the blister to squeeze out the fluid. Once drained it is important to not remove the cap as this acts as a protective barrier against the raw skin that is on the bottom of the blister. Instead put an antiseptic such as Neosporin or bacitracin ointment on the wound and then cover it with a dressing under compression so that the blister does not re-form. Do this for a few days. The cap will dry out and the raw skin will harden. At that point you may cut away the dead dry skin and the underlying skin should be fine. If during these few days you start to notice an increase in pain and the surrounding area appears to be getting more red in color, there is a good chance the area is infected. At this point you should see a foot specialist for further treatment. Generally blisters are a minor problem. However, this can change in certain circumstances. If you happen to be diabetic, have poor circulation or suffer from any major debilitating disease you must be careful. In these instances the prudent move would be to see a foot specialist and let he or she take care of it. Additionally, most friction blisters occur as one or possibly two lesions. If you find yourself developing multiple blisters for no explainable reason; if these blisters itch and there is scaling in the area, more than likely you have a fungal infection or eczema. In these instances a visit to a foot specialist is warranted as it will require professional treatment. For those of you prone to forming friction blisters there are a few things you can do. The first is obvious; make sure your shoes are not too tight. Even if they seem to fit fine check the inside of the shoe for stitching that may aggravate certain parts of the foot. If the blisters routinely form on the bottom of the foot sometimes adding an orthotic with a Spenco topcover will reduce the friction. For more information on blisters and orthotics, click here. Other tricks for blisters include wearing two pair of thin cotton socks with a little powder between them. This too will reduce the friction on the bottom of the feet. Lastly, sometimes toughening up the skin in a certain blister prone area will reduce recurrence. This can be accomplished by applying tincture of benzoin liquid (not the spray; too messy) to the area, let it dry for a minute or so. It will become â€œtackyâ€. Then take any dry skin lotion and rub it into the sticky area. Do this on a regular basis and the skin should become hard enough that it will stop blistering. Do not do this while you have an active blister; do this on healed skin. What are Foot Blisters? Blisters are small swelling of the skin that contains watery fluid. They are caused by friction. The body responds to the friction by producing fluid. The fluid builds up beneath the part of the skin being rubbed, causing pressure and pain. Blisters occur when feet get hot, sweaty and socks stick to the feet. The sock and foot then rub against each other and the inside of the shoe. Fluid fills up a space between layers of skin to protect the area, like a small balloon. That's how a blister forms. People with diabetes may not be able recognize the painful event due to a condition called neuropathy. A doctor should attend to their blisters and burns. Blisters are a common problem with athletes wearing in new shoes. They are also a common problem for athletes, runners and walkers who participate in exceptionally long events such as marathons or long hill walks. If a blister is red, leaking yellow fluid or has red lines near the blister, visit a doctor immediately. Redness and leaking yellow fluid are symptoms of infection. What Causes Foot Blisters? There are many different causes of foot blisters. Some of the most common causes of foot blisters are: Heat, moisture and friction. Friction forces caused by inappropriate shoes or socks. Fungal infections of the skin. Allergic reactions or burns. Excessive foot perspiration. How do Foot Blisters form? Blisters occur when a foot gets hot and sweaty. When a foot is hot and sweaty, the sock sticks to the foot. The sock and foot then rub against each other and the inside of the shoe. Fluid fills up a space between layers of skin to protect the area, like a small balloon. The fluid that forms between the layers of skin is called a blister. People with diabetes who have neuropathy may not be able recognize when a foot blister is forming. How Can Foot Blisters be Prevented? Some ways to prevent blisters are: Wear shoes that fit properly. Keep feet as dry as possible. Wearing wet shoes, boots and socks will increase your chance of developing blisters. Change socks regularly. Use foot powder to help keep your feet dry. Treatments for Foot Blisters? If the blister has not "popped," leave it alone. Most of the time, the blister will reabsorb and heal on its own. Flexitol Heel Balm is extremely effective in helping prevent blisters and friction when exercising or "breakingâ€™â€™ in new shoes. You should apply Flexitol Heel Balm before walking or running. Ensure that rough areas and potential blister sites are well covered with Flexitol Heel Balm. The running /walking movement massages Flexitol Heel Balm into the feet, leaving them smooth and supple.