Blisters are fluid filled pockets within or on the skin. They can form from a variety of reasons, including heat, friction, fungus and moisture. Friction blisters are formed from excessive rubbing of shoes or socks on the skin. If the shoes are too big, or the skin is too wet (from sweat) it can cause friction and lead to a blister. Excessive heat, especially from burns, can cause blistering of the skin. When patients have athletes foot, which is a fungal infection of the skin, the fungus can cause the skin to blister. Allergic reactions to certain medications, food, or substances can cause irritation to the skin which can lead to blisters as well.
Patients that are diabetic should without hesitation have their feet checked out if they have a blister. Even if you are healthy, it is always a good idea to have the area checked out because it could turn into an infection if left untreated. If a blister occurs, it is best not to puncture it yourself. Leaving the blister intact and having it professionally drained is the the most appropriate treatment. Your doctor may prescribe you medications to add to the blister topically, depending on the cause of the blister, or if it begins to look infected, you may require oral or IV antibiotics. Icing the area will help rid the area of inflammation and reduce pain.
To prevent blisters from occurring, make sure your shoes and socks fit appropriately. If you have excess moisture in your feet, make sure you use an antiperspirant on your feet before putting your shoes on. Gel pads, skin protectant sprays, or double layering socks can help prevent a lot of friction from occurring. If your blisters are caused from a fungal infection of the skin, make sure you treat the fungus before it spreads and to prevent the blisters from forming.
Abrasions can be caused from friction as well. Excess friction to the skin (for example, from falling or injuring yourself) can lead to loss of a skin layer. The area may bleed and cause pain. Depending on how deep the abrasion is depends on how bad the scar will form. Abrasions should best be evaluated and treated by a professional. Your doctor will be able to assess how deep the abrasion is and what treatment is medically necessary. It can range from topical medications with non-adhesive dressings to oral or IV antibiotics. Collagen can be used to help heal the abrasion more quickly.
Skin tears form from shearing of the skin. They can be self-inflicted, either from removing a dressing too forcefully, or scratching too aggressively. When removing dressings, make sure you apply counter pressure to the skin surrounding the dressing to prevent it from tearing.