How to Prevent Foot Blisters

how foot blisters are formed

As a person living with type 1 diabetes, I am always extremely cautious of my feet. This is because I am terrified of the thought of amputation as a result of poor diabetes management and foot care. Although I take really good care of my feet I have still gotten foot blister and punctures a couple times in my life. However, I was able to effectively treat them. It is important to note that blood sugar control plays a major part in the healing of cuts and bruises in persons with diabetes. If you do get blisters on your feet, it’s very important to properly treat them immediately. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, preventing these issues in the first place is better.

How Foot Blisters Form

Blisters form as a result of friction when the top layers of skin separate from the bottom layer and the space between is filled with fluid. Here is an example of how this can happens. A red area called a hot spot precedes a blister. As your heel rubs against the shoe or a strap rubs against your foot, the skin becomes irritated and inflamed. This causes a tear to occur within the top layers of your skin, leaving a gap between the layers. Your body sends fluid to fill up this space, in order to protect it. Foot blisters are common from poorly fitting shoes which cause the foot to rub against the shoe or cause the toes to rub against one another.

How to Prevent Foot Blisters

The key to preventing a blister is to prevent the conditions that predispose you to them or at least to take action as soon as you feel an irritated area.

Prevent Rubbing

Make sure your shoes are not too tight or too loose. Also be cautious of shoes made of very hard material with no padded edges that make contact with your feet (heel, instep and between the toes).Padded insoles or arch supports may help prevent blisters caused by uneven pressure on your feet. If you wear flip flops, make sure that the tongue between the toes is not hard, coarse or have sharp pieces.

Keep your feet dry

Wear socks made from synthetics that wick away sweat. They should be seamless and snug enough so they move with your feet and don’t bunch up. Wearing socks that bunch up under your feet can cause irritation and can contribute to the issue. Avoid 100% cotton socks, which retain moisture. If your feet sweat a lot, you can try using antiperspirant or some type of foot powder on them.

Use Specialty Tapes and Paddings

Apply moleskin or athletic tape on blister-prone areas, or at the first sign of a hot spot or blister. Special blister-pad products typically contain gels that reduce friction and provide cushioning to prevent blisters.

If you do get a small blister, leave it alone. Simply keep the area clean, dry and allow it to “breathe”. You can place a donut-shaped pad over the blister or cut a hole in an adhesive moleskin pad to relieve pressure or try a blister-pad product. If you develop a large or painful blister it should be lanced and drained. If you are unsure if you can effectively drain it yourself please seek medical attention from a doctor or nurse. The type of antibiotic ointment to be used is also extremely important. As diabetics we cannot use any and every product available.

Here are General Instructions for Draining a Blister

Wash and gently dry area; then, with a sterile needle, puncture the blister at its edge. Be sure to only puncture the raised skin of the blister and not the actual underlying skin of the foot. Gently drain the fluid, then cover with a sterile bandage. Don not remove the skin of the blister itself. This actually provides a protective covering. If signs of infection such as pus or redness or even pain develop, seek medical attention immediately. If a blister breaks on its own, simply wash the area, dry and cover with a bandage. It should heal quickly once your blood sugar in under control.

Always remember that foot care is of the utmost importance when it comes to diabetes. Attend to the smallest of injuries to your feet at all times.

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