The best treatment and prevention tips for painful foot blisters.
Medically reviewed by Dr Juliet McGrattan (MBChB) and words by Rita Ghelani (BPharm, MRPharmS)
Suffering from painful blisters on your feet? If you’re breaking in a new pair of shoes and struggling with blisters between your toes or on your ankles, they can be extremely painful and unsightly – and protective plasters often make your feet look even worse.
Try our expert tips on how to treat blisters and prevent future problems:
What are blisters?
Blisters form in the upper layers of the skin and develop small pockets of fluid that eventually pop. The formation of a blister is a process that helps to protect the tissue underneath.
Blisters can develop when a surface rubs against exposed skin. Blisters are usually caused by friction from shoes that don’t fit well and occur more often in hot weather when feet can get swollen and sweaty, which can make the skin softer and more prone to damage.
Blister treatment tips
Most blisters will heal naturally, however you can help the healing process by doing the following:
✔️ Don’t ‘pop’ the blister. The skin covering the blister helps protect against infection and acts as a natural barrier.
✔️ Cover the blister will some protective dressing or a special blister plaster that will help to absorb the moisture and provide cushioning. Try Compeed blister plasters.
✔️ Change the dressing or plaster daily and wear different shoes to help the blistered skin heal.
How to prevent blisters
The best way to avoid getting blisters is to make sure your shoes fit well. Here are some tips to help you buy shoes that fit properly:
• Shop late
If you are having your feet measured to buy a new pair of shoes, the end of the day is the best time to have your feet measured, this is when your feet are largest.
• Fit for your larger foot
Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other, so make sure you fit your shoe to your larger foot.
• Get your gait measured
For sports or running shoes visit a specialist store and ask to get your gait measured to ensure you choose the perfect fit which will minimise blisters and rubbing.
• Fit is everything
Select a shoe by how it fits your foot, not the size marked inside the shoe and also select a shoe that is shaped like your foot.
• Forget the stretch
Make sure the ball of your foot fits comfortably in the widest part of the shoe and don’t buy shoes that feel too tight and expect them to stretch.
• Minimise slippage
The fitting on the heel is important to help prevent blistering. The shoe should not ride up and down on the your heel when you walk and there should be minimum amount of slipping.
• Shop around
Shoes made of leather can reduce the possibility of skin irritations. Look for a shoe with soft, flexible material to match the shape of your foot. Low heeled shoes are more comfortable and are less likely to cause irritation and blisters on the toes or ball of the foot.
• Try anti-friction padding
If however, high heels are must for an occasion – then you can use anti-friction padding or material to reduce the risk of getting blisters. Try Carnation Anti-blister stick that is designed to ease friction and stop blisters from developing.