Friction Blisters

Treating Friction Blisters

Even if you go out of your way to prevent friction blisters, you'll probably end up getting a few in your lifetime. Sometimes you don't realize your shoes are rubbing you the wrong way until you can't do anything about it. Other times you might not be able to change your damp socks. It happens to the best of us.

If you get a blister despite your best efforts, make sure it doesn't become infected. Look for signs that the blister has become infected, including red, raw pus-filled blisters or increasing degrees of pain [source: Mayo Clinic].

If the skin of the blister hasn't broken and seems to be getting better, don't try to puncture and drain it; your skin acts as its own antibacterial barrier. Leave a closed blister uncovered when possible; otherwise, cover it with a loose bandage or use a moleskin pad [source: WebMD].

If the blister is large and painful, draining it can relieve pressure and can safely be done at home. Start by sterilizing your skin and a needle with rubbing alcohol, and then insert the needle at the edge of the blister. Once punctured, apply antibiotic ointment and then covered loosely with gauze, changing the dressing daily to keep it dry. If you are a diabetic or have circulation problems, leave all draining of blisters to your doctor to avoid a serious infection [source: WebMD].

Blisters are a part of life and like anything, the more you know the more proactive you can be. Check out the links below to find out a lot more information on friction blisters.

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  • Cortese Jr., Thomas A. PhD, Tommy B Griffin Maj MC, Laurence L Layton PhD and Thomas C Hutsell PhD. "Experimental Friction Blisters in Macaque Monkeys." The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. March 31, 1969. (Accessed 09/01/2009)
  • ESPN. "10 Burning Questions for…John Wooden." 2001 (Accessed 09/01/2009)
  • Gottlieb, Ira J. D.P.M. "Avoiding Blisters in Sports." The Chesapeake Foot & Ankle Center, P.A. 2008. (Accessed 09/01/2009)
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Blisters: First aid." January 11, 2008. (Accessed 8/20/09)
  • Shwartz, Robert A. MD, MPH. "Friction Blisters: Treatment & Medication." Apr. 30, 2008. (accessed 08/11/2009)
  • WebMD. "Blisters - Home Treatment." 2007. (Accessed 8/20/09)
  • WebMD. "Blisters - Prevention." 2007. (Accessed 8/20/09)