If you’re wondering if it’s okay to pop a blister, the answer is no. Open wounds can get infected, which may require the care of a podiatrist.
We’ve all had a blister at some point, and they’re usually on our heels or toes. As tempting as they are trying to get rid of on your own, is it okay to pop a blister? Today, the experts from our podiatrist office in Columbia, TN, weigh in with the answer (Spoiler alert: it’s no!)
What Is A Blister?
A blister, also known as a bulla, is essentially a pocket of fluid between layers of skin. They can be painful and have a number of causes.
Blisters On The Feet
Blisters on the feet are typically caused by friction or moisture. However, they may also be caused by burns or extremely low temperatures.
Friction blisters happen when you wear shoes that are too tight or too loose and rub your foot. According to the podiatrist, most people experience friction blisters on their heels or toes. Moisture blisters occur when your feet sweat and aren’t given an opportunity to breathe. You might notice a blister after burning yourself, such as with hot water or cooking oil. It’s also possible to get a blister from frostbite.
To Bleed Or Not To Bleed
While there are many different types of blisters, there are typically two levels of injury. A superficial injury is a blister filled with clear fluid. If you’ve been rubbed or burnt deeper than just the top few layers of skin, there might be blood inside of your blister. In this case, it might look purple or red.
Will A Blister Heal On Its Own?
In most cases, yes, a blister will heal on its own. It does not matter if the fluid inside is clear or mixed with blood. However, your podiatrist might wish to drain or remove a blister completely if it’s already been compromised.
Can I Pop A Blister On My Own?
Technically, yes. However, blisters should be left alone unless they cause significant pain or discomfort. As we mentioned a moment ago, most blisters will heal on their own, and this usually only takes a few days to a week or two. When you pop a blister, which is the body’s natural defense against an injury, you open the skin and can introduce bacteria.
Signs Of An Infection
If you try to pop a blister on your own, there’s a good chance that it will get infected. A few signs of this include:
- Warmth and redness
- Odor coming from the blister
- Pain and swelling
- Peeling skin
- Bleeding with touch
If you do have an infected blister, call the office immediately and schedule an appointment. The podiatrist will perform a full inspection, clean the wound, and treat the pain. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic or antifungal medication. Your doctor may also recommend wearing a protective “second skin” bandage if your blister has been damaged in any way.
Serious side effects of a blister, even one that’s infected, are rare. However, you should pay close attention to how the area feels and whether or not it starts to get better within just a few days. If not, you might be at risk of cellulitis. Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that spreads quickly and can become life-threatening if left untreated.
If you have a blister, be diligent. Maintain a watchful eye, wear dry socks and well-fitted shoes, and call your podiatrist if it doesn’t heal on its own or if you notice significant pain and swelling or pus seeping from the wound. Chances are, your blister will go away without incident. If not, avoid the temptation to pop it, which could cause an infection. The last thing you want is for a small inconvenience to turn into a serious health problem.
Dr. Danielle Malin, DPM of Premier Foot & Ankle Care in Columbia, TN, specializes in treating foot and ankle pain, Achilles tendinitis, warts, nail disorders, hammertoe, bunions, and more. She is a skilled foot and ankle surgeon who offers personalized patient care through her full-service office. Dr. Malin is unique among local podiatrists in that she makes house calls so that she can best care for her diverse patient base. Premier Foot & Ankle Care care treats both adult and pediatric patients. A staff physician at Maury Regional Medical Center, Dr. Malin is Board Certified by the American Board of Foot & Ankle Surgery.