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Inova Fairfax Hospital

Inova Children's Hospital
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Blisters

Did you ever get a blister from a new pair of shoes? Blisters can be uncomfortable, but they're also pretty common and easy to prevent. They happen because of friction — which means that two surfaces rub against each other. One of the surfaces is your tender skin!

What's a Blister?

A blister is an area of raised skin with a watery liquid inside. Blisters form on hands and feet from rubbing and pressure, and they can form pretty quickly. You can get blisters on your feet the same day you wear uncomfortable or poor-fitting shoes Or, you can get blisters on your hands if you forget to wear protective gloves when you're using a hammer, a shovel, or even when you're riding your bike.

How Can I Prevent Blisters?

The best way to deal with blisters is to avoid getting them altogether. So how do you do that?

To avoid getting blisters on your hands, wear the right kind of gloves or protective gear. For instance, you might use work gloves during yardwork or palm protectors called "grips" for gymnastics.

To keep your feet blister-free, choose your shoes wisely. Try to shop for shoes in the afternoon — that's when your feet are their largest. Why? Because they get a little swollen from you walking on them all day! And be sure to try on both shoes and walk around a little bit before buying them. Even if they look really cool, don't get them if they don't feel right. Often, a different size or width can make a big difference.

And even if you love a certain pair of shoes in your closet, don't wear them all the time. Mix it up by wearing a variety of shoes. That way, your feet will get a break and won't always be rubbed in the same places.

How Can I Care for a Blister?

If any skin problem gets red, inflamed, or looks infected, your mom or dad will want to check with your doctor. But most blisters can be cared for at home.

Blisters usually just need time to heal on their own. Keep a blister clean and dry and cover it with a bandage until it goes away. While it heals, try to avoid putting pressure on the area or rubbing it.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: February 2019