Airbags have been around since the mid-90’s and are responsible for saving countless lives in the years since. These safety devices are able to protect drivers and passengers on account of the cushioning provided by the gas inside. In a similar fashion, blisters provide cushioning to the delicate, healing skin underneath them with the fluid inside.
What Exactly Are Blisters?
When your body is faced with external threats, it will take measures to protect and repair itself. An example of this are the protection your body forms in response to excessive rubbing and irritation. As your skin experiences friction, its outer layers rub against each other, separate, and then fill with fluid. The resulting fluid-filled sac provides cushioning and protection, which enables new skin tissue to form underneath.
These vesicles are rather common, especially for runners. They can be caused by new running shoes, wet feet, or ill-fitting footwear. Other people can get them because of contact dermatitis (skin allergies), burns, or allergic eczema.
Are There Any Complications?
A blister can quickly turn into a major complication for someone who lives with diabetes. On account of the nerve damage (neuropathy) that often accompanies this disease, it is possible for an individual to be unaware of the fluid-filled bubble that has formed. The risk posed to a diabetic individual is that the unrecognized vesicle could burst and then infection sets in. For this reason, if you are diabetic, include blisters in your list of issues to note as you conduct your daily foot inspection.
Those who have diabetes are not the only ones at risk from complications from a popped vesicle, though. Anyone who dismisses this condition as “not a big deal” could potentially sustain an infection like cellulitis or secondary impetigo. If an infected blister continues to go untreated, you could run the risk of a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection known as sepsis.
How Do You Treat Difficult Blisters?
Most of these lesions will heal naturally in time if left alone. As your body repairs itself by growing new skin under the vesicle, the fluid contained within the bubble will be absorbed and the skin on the outside will dry up and peel off. Keep in mind that a blister is actually your body’s natural barrier for preventing infections, so you should try to keep the skin intact.
When dealing with a large, painful blister, one treatment method that you may choose is to cover it with a soft dressing for cushioning and protection. Be sure to change the dressing daily and wash your hands to avoid infection.
Experts are divided on the subject of popping your own blisters. If you are going to do so, take precautions by sterilizing the needle first, keeping the flap of skin attached, and using an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
If you are diabetic and have discovered a blister in the course of your daily foot check, contact our office so that we can take care of it safely for you.
Can Blisters Be Prevented?
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this is certainly the case when it comes to preventing one of these growths.
- The first step in preventing blisters—as well as a host of other foot and ankle problems—is to wear shoes that fit well. When you cram your feet into shoes that are too tight, or drown in shoes that are too big, you put yourself at risk for many issues.
- When you are going to spend a lot of time walking, such as enjoying a hike, be sure to wear thick, cushioned socks to protect your feet.
- Speaking of socks, choose pairs that are moisture-wicking. Feet that are wet are susceptible to blisters and socks made from synthetic blends that wick moisture away can help keep them dry.
Whether you discover a blister during your daily diabetic foot check, are a runner who develops them often, or do not want to drain an uncomfortable blister on your own, Shenandoah Podiatry is here for you. Call our Roanoke office at (540) 904-1458, or request an appointment via our online form.