Painful Blisters – Treatment and care that you can opt for

Tuesday, 03 November 2015 1043 Views 0 Comments
Painful Blisters – Treatment and care that you can opt for

By Shailja Kaushik

Blisters are an annoying and painful condition. Although the condition may seem minor, it can prevent athletes from participating in sports. In his book Sports Medicine Essentials: Core Concepts in Athletic Training and Fitness Instructions, Jim Clover, defines blisters as a bubble-like collection of fluids beneath or within the epidermis of the skin.


Excessive movement leads to rubbing of shoes or socks against the skin of the foot. This produces huge amounts of friction between the different layers of the skin. This friction in turn produces fluid under the skin and results in blisters.

The following factors intensify friction in the case of runners:

  • Running for a longer duration
  • Running at a faster pace
  • Hot weather
  • Ill-fitted shoes
  • Perspiration

You must observe the fluid color within a blister. Usually the fluid will be clear but in certain cases it may turn dark due to the accumulation of blood in the cavity. The blood in blisters occurs due to very high levels of friction which breaks the small blood vessels under the skin.

Largely blisters don’t pose much of a risk, but one needs to careful of infections. Infections may occur if they are kept unclean, or an unsterilised needle is used to pop them.


  • Cleaning the area and placing a donut-pad around the blister. This helps to release the pressure in the area
  • Taping and wrapping the blister
  • Visiting a physician to evaluate the blister for infection, especially if it is large, red or hot.

Care for a broken blister[i]

  1. Clean the area with soap and water
  2. Apply a stack of several donut-shaped pads around the blister, place antibiotic ointment in the hole, and then cover it with an uncut gauze pad
  3. Advise the athlete to watch for the signs of infection including redness, swelling, pain and tenderness.
  4. To ensure no new blisters are formed, athletes should try to eliminate the source of friction and monitor the affected area for signs of infection or blood poisoning.

Coaches should encourage athletes to bring up the formation of any new blisters immediately, so that padding and protection can be provided.

The best way to prevent blisters is by having properly fitted shoes and giving new shoes a short break-in before using them in practice or competition.[ii]


Jim Clover. Sports Medicine Essentials: Core Concepts in Athletic Training and Fitness Instruction. Cengage Learning, 2015.

B. J. Brown. Complete Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Athletic Injuries. Parker Publishing Company, 1972.

[i] Ronald P. Pfeiffer. Sports First-Aid and Injury. Jones & Bartlette Publishers, 2009.

[ii] Ronald P. Pfeiffer; Brent Mangus. Concepts of Athletic Training. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. 2011

(Dr. Rohan Habbu is an Orthopedic Hand, Nerve & upper Extremity Surgeon. He has done Fellowship in Arthroscopy & Sports Surgery and is an avid runner. To know more, reach out to him on or +91 982017 13941)

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