What To Do If You Get A Blood Blister On Your Toe According To Podiatrists
Health & Wellness
The big question: to pop or not?
In just about any sport, your feet can take a beating. And, thanks to pressure, force and friction, blood blisters can appear, especially on your toes.
These can appear more alarming than regular blisters, and the temptation to pop a blood blister might be too much to resist. Here’s what causes blood blisters, how to handle one that’s getting troublesome, and some expert prevention tips.
What is a blood blister?
In general, blisters appear due to damage caused by heat or friction on the skin, said foot and ankle specialist Alireza Khosroabadi, D.P.M.
“With a blood blister, it’s essentially a regular blister except that the blood vessels underneath have been damaged,” he said. “This causes blood to leak into the blister, making it dark red or purplish in color.”
This can set off a signal to the body, activating a response from the immune system, resulting in inflammation in the area. This can all lead up to a blood blister on your toe becoming inflamed, painful, tingly or itchy.
This usually happens on the top of the toes, especially the pinky toe, but can also appear on the bottom of the big toe and on the ball of the foot, Khosroabadi said. Where they appear tends to depend on the structure of your foot as that informs how your foot lands during a sport such as running or soccer.
Blood blister on toe? Here are some treatment strategies.
Some More Tips For Blood Blister Treatment
Besides a variety of blood blister treatment, it is necessary to pay attention to some more tips:
For injury treatment:
- Remove any pressure on the blood blisters and expose them to the air
- Apply ice to the blood blisters as soon as the injury if they are painful immediately after the injury
- Do not pop the blood blisters in normal circumstances, do notpop the blood blister as this causes infection and restrict the healing process.
For healing process:
- Protect the blood blisters with bandage, particularly in foot and hands
- Clean the blisters and around areas carefully before applying any treatment
- Keep blood blister treatment until they heal completely.
For broken blisters
- If the blisters burst or tear, drain the fluid from the carefully to clean it off.
- After cleaning the blood blisters, apply an antiseptic ointment if you drained the blisters yourself. Dont use iodine or alcohol for the blisters.
- Leave the skin intact after draining the blisters and dress them with clean bandages.
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Tips And Ways Of Blood Blister Treatment On Hand And Foot
Blood blisters are not really a common condition but they also make discomfort and infection once occurring. They are, in fact, not serious and later heal on their selves, it is necessary to have natural blood blister treatment to minimize its results as much as possible.
Blood blisters occur when there is any damage to the blood vessels under the surface of the skin especially in the fingers and toes areas. These blisters appear as the same to the blister skin bubble, so they are often red, fluid-filled, and pretty painful. Blood blisters should not be popped up too early because this may cause a more severe condition like a skin infection, which also means that the way to care and treat blood blisters plays a very important role.
There are some factors that can cause the blood blisters such as trauma to the skin including scalding or burning, forceful pinching, the exposure to harmful chemicals, allergens to the skin, or a viral skin infection. They can be also caused by a gradual application of friction, for instance, after a new shoe scrubs a blood blister on ones foot.
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How To Treat Sunburn Blisters
Sunburn blisters usually heal on their own, but you can help speed your recovery in several ways:
- Do not pop blisters as this can lead to infection.
- Use a cold compress or take a cool shower to ease the pain.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol .
- Apply aloe gel to cool the feet and relieve pain.
- Avoid further sun exposure by wearing socks when outdoors.
- Drink plenty of water since blisters can cause your body to lose moisture and lead to dehydration.
Should I Pop A Blister
The general rule with blisters is do not pop or drain them. If you pop the blister, you have made a hole in the skin . This not only removes the protective effect of the blister but opens the area up to infection. Popped blisters are often more painful too, as the nerves in the skin beneath are more exposed.
It is particularly important to try to keep the blister intact if any of the following apply to you, as you will be more prone to infection and worsening damage to your feet:
- You are taking steroid tablets.
As with every rule, there are exceptions. You may need to pop a blister if it is large and getting in the way of your shoes. You may also judge that it’s better to pop it as it is so fluid-filled and tense it’s likely to pop anyway as soon as you put your shoes back on. A controlled de-pressurisation of the blister may then make a smaller hole in the skin than if your shoes rubbed the dome of the blister right off.
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Your First Priority: Preventing Infection
Your first foot blister treatment priority is to prevent infection. But it doesnt stop there. Also monitor regularly for infection . The signs of an infected blister include: pus increasing pain, redness or heat around your blister or red streaks extending from the blister. Heres how to ensure your blister doesnt get infected:
- Firstly, clean your hands Apply antibacterial gel or soap and water to kill the germs on your hands.
- Secondly, clean your blister If your blister is mucky with debris of any sort flush it with saline or rinse it with soapy water or just water if thats all youve got. This will physically remove some of the germs from your blister.
- Thirdly, disinfect your blister Use and antiseptic or antibiotic to kill the remaining germs on your blister.
- Finally, cover your blister This will keep any new germs out. It will provide protection to your blister, and provide a nice healing environment for your blister. However, dont just use tape, because it may well rip your roof off. If in doubt, use an island dressing.
Foot Blisters From Excessive Heat
Blisters can also develop in response to intense heat due to:
- Burns: First degree burns will often blister after a couple of days as they are healing. Second-degree burns usually blister immediately
- Sunburn: Excessive exposure to UV light leads to sunburn which can result in painful blistering of the skin
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Blood Blister Treatment Using Black Tea Bag
In fact, black tea includes caffeine in itself that is able to shrink the arteries in order to restrict bleeding from them. After applying a wet tea bag to a wound a few minutes, the bleeding can stop and this remedy can also be used to stop internal bleeding in case of blood blisters. Using black tea bag as a blood blister treatment is very simple but effective indeed.
- Take a black tea bag and place it in a pot, pour hot water into and let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes
- Remove the tea water and wrap the remains in a bandage
- Place the tea bag on the blisters for 5 minutes with a few pressures.
- Do this 3 times daily.
- Alternatively, store the tea bag in the fridge and when it is chilly, put it on the blood blisters for a short time.
How To Care For Blisters
Treatments tips if you have a foot blister include:
- Keeping the foot clean and dry while it heals.
- Protecting the area so the blister can heal. Use cushioning products specifically designed for blisters to help protect them so you can move more comfortably. Dr. Scholls® Blister Cushions with Duragel® technology are packaged in sterile form to help prevent a blister from developing an infection
- Wearing shoes that dont rub against the blister and wearing socks with your shoes.
- For small blisters, using a regular adhesive bandage to keep the protective layer of skin over the blister intact.
- For blisters in difficult locations try creating a round, donut shaped bandage around the blister. This may reduce the pressure on the blister and keep the protective layer of skin over the blister intact.
When possible, it is best to not burst, or break, the skin covering a blister. This is because blisters will often heal themselves, with the fluid slowly being absorbed back into the skin, as the skin heals. Popping a blister can increase the risk of infection, by exposing the injury to bacteria in your environment.
See your doctor if you are having trouble walking, or if you think your blister is infected. You should seek medical care if you are finding the blister very painful, and/or are having trouble walking, or if you see signs of infection. These signs can include pus on or around the blister, a spreading redness, pain, swelling, and warm skin.
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Home Treatments For Blisters On Feet
You may be tempted to pick at or burst a blister. But you should leave a blister intact because an open blister can become infected. Covering your blister with an adhesive bandage can help protect your blister while it heals.
If you leave a blister alone, it may eventually harden and disappear. Until this happens, the bubble may be uncomfortable, depending on its size. While you shouldnt burst a blister, safely draining the blister may provide relief. Here are steps to properly drain a blister at home:
Ginger Application For Blood Blister Treatment
Ginger is considered to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties thereby relieving blood blisters effectively, especially for the blisters in the mouth. Blood blisters can appear anywhere inside the mouth, for example in the tongue, but not only on the cheeks, which makes friction when cleaning teeth or eating food. In case of mouth blood blisters, ginger may be the best treatment:
Cut a ginger root into thin slices and chew a piece regularly and lightly in order that its juice coats the blisters.
Steep some pieces of ginger to make ginger tea, let it cool off to the room temperature and use this tea to rinse the mouth 3 times a day.
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How Can I Prevent Blisters From Forming
The key to preventing blisters is to reduce the friction that causes the blisters and to prevent clothing from becoming wet with perspiration. For athletes prone to blisters on their feet, a lubricant can be applied directly to the hot spot areas to reduce the friction.
Powder can also be applied to the feet to help keep feet dry during exercise. Applying antiperspirant to the bottom of the feet has also been recommended.
Some athletes wear two pairs of socks to reduce the friction on the feet by transferring the friction to the socks rather than to the foot. Because cotton socks can be thick and wrinkle causing pressure within the shoe, changing to a lighter material sock may also be beneficial.
Shoes that are too small or too large may also be the cause of blisters. Shoes that are too big allow the feet to slide back and forth within the shoe creating hot spots on the feet. Shoes that are too small can rub on the sides or back of the feet and create blisters.
For athletes prone to blisters on the hand, the best recommendation is to wear protective gloves/equipment specifically designed to reduce friction in the athletes sport. In the sports of baseball, softball, and weightlifting, gloves can be worn to reduce the friction between the hands and the sport implement.
When Should You See A Doctor
In most cases, you wont have to see a doctor. As long as the blister roof stays intact, it is a sterile environment. All you need to do is remove the blister cause so it doesnt get bigger or burst. However, if your blood blister pops and gets bigger or more sore or red, it may be infected . See your doctor for medical advice specific to your situation if things are getting worse rather than better.
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About The Author
Rebecca Rushton BSc
Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leader, author and educator. Cant cook. Loves test cricket.
Sterile Blister Lance Pack
Got a blister that needs popping? Don’t use scissors or a sewing needle & get infected. Do it safely with our Sterile Blister Lance Pack.
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What Is The Proper Blister Treatment
The proper blister treatment depends on whether the blister is intact or torn open. Each needs to be treated differently.
It is important to note that the skin overlying the blister is protective and should remain in place as long as possible. A common mistake athletes make is to remove the overlying skin of the blister. This exposes the underlying skin to possible infection. Also, removing the skin causes increased pain because raw nerve endings are exposed.
The question most often asked is Should I drain the blister? The answer depends on whether the blister is filled with fluid or not. Because the pain from the blister is caused by pressure from the built-up fluid, draining a blister that is filled with fluid will immediately reduce the pain associated with a blister.
Draining a blister can be done safely at home as long as proper treatment protocols are followed. They include the following:
Open blisters have already torn and do not need to be drained. However, the athlete still needs to take care to keep the blister clean and free from infection.
If the open blister has a small tear, the goal for treatment is to keep as much skin tissue as possible to allow the underlying skin to mature. The treatment for an open blister includes the following:
Types Of Foot Blister
Blisters on feet typically fall into one of three groups based on how they appear:
- Clear Blisters: In most cases, blisters on feet are filled with clear fluid, known as serum aka plasma. Serum is one of the components found in blood, alongside red blood cells and clotting factor. It is made up of proteins, antibodies, hormones, antigens and electrolytes.
- Blood Blisters: Sometimes, blisters may appear red or black which indicates that they contain blood. This happens when some of the small blood vessels are damaged as well as the skin.
- Infected Blisters: If blisters on feet become infected, pus forms and collects giving them a whitish or yellow tinge.
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B Reduce Some Pressure And Reduce Friction Levels
This is where pressure deflection can help in conjunction with reducing friction levels on and around the blister. They are called friction blisters, after all! Heres How:
- Reduce pressure with donut pads cut from thick adhesive orthopedic felt. The idea is you place the cavity over your blood blister to keep the pressure off it.
- Reduce friction levels with Engo Blister Patches. You stick these to your shoe or insole to stop the skin stretching and tearing the capillaries further.
What Causes Blisters When Running
For runners specifically, blisters are usually caused by socks or shoes rubbing against the skin of the feet. Any friction and rubbing of material on certain areas of your feet will cause blisters.
Heat and moisture cause your feet to swell when you run thereby increasing the friction as well.
In response to the friction, the body produces a fluid around the affected area which builds up and forms a bubble on your skin. These bubbles, or blisters, sometimes pop by themselves while youre running. When popped, the layer of skin underneath the bubble is exposed which is very sensitive and painful.
Many runners experience blisters more during races as they are running faster and perspiring more than on their training runs.
Wearing ill-fitting running shoes can also cause blisters. Shoes that are too tight or too loose can irritate and chafe your skin, which results in foot blisters.
Its important to make sure that your shoe is the right size.
If the shoe is too tight or if the shoe is too loose, so either too small or too big, both of those can lead to blistering.
When trying shoes on you should: Put the shoe on, and tie your laces so that they are reasonably snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit your thumb between your heel and the shoe and it should not be loose. If you can do this without forcing your thumb in with difficulty then youve got the right size.
This short video will explain exactly how to make sure your shoes fit correctly
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