Indiana Nurses Weigh In on Proper Care for the Blisters Your Holiday Shoes May Leave Behind
What do you do when you end up with a blister on your foot? Do you leave it alone and hope for the best or do you puncture it and drain it? That seems to be the burning question and we have the answer!
I am not unfamiliar with having blisters on my feet. I have worked a number of jobs that required me to spend hours and hours on my feet. Some of those jobs I have worked while wearing shoes that some would call me crazy for wearing and sometimes, blisters happen.
Big Bad Blister
Over the summer, I enjoyed an entire weekend of live music at a festival with my daughter. For three days we walked, ran, jumped, and danced. And after the very first day, I developed a small blister on the bottom of one of my toes. Day two and three I wore a different pair of shoes, but the blister still got larger.
I have always tried to leave blisters alone. As long as it is closed, there is no way for germs to enter the skin and cause problems. However, I had a couple of people I know who told me immediately to pop it. I cringed at the idea! And then I did what any smart person would do. I turned to Facebook for answers because let's face it, I'm sure this won't be my last blister. Let's just say I have a bad habit of wearing shoes that are sometimes more form than function.
To Pop or Not to Pop?
Now, to be fair, when I turned to Facebook, I specifically asked for replies from friends who are nurses but of course, because it's social media, I did get replies from non-medical professionals too... and some of the replies were nothing short of peculiar.
Nurses Weigh In
My nurse friend, Abigail, said to avoid popping it if at all possible. In fact, I am currently taking her advice by wearing flip-flops at work.
It’s best not to pop a blister as mentioned above it is a sterile environment and will typically resolve in a few days. There are areas such as the feet that can get blisters due to friction and could pop on their own if repeatedly put under similar situations of tight shoes. With it being summer if you can get away with wearing sandals to avoid popping it I would. If not and you can wrap it to protect it then make sure you properly clean your hands, the blister and anything you use to pop it and then be sure to keep it covered.
Another nurse friend, Carrie, echoed the same sentiment telling me to just "leave it alone" which is exactly what I am trying to do.
Leave it alone. It opens a portal to infection and the fluid inside is sterile. Once it pops, treat it like a wound. Good daily cleaning with soap and water, neosporin and a bandaid.
Janet, another nurse friend of mine suggested some ointment and a bandage.
Don’t pop like everyone said it would be opening to an infection . Keep it covered and maybe some triple antibiotics ointment. Put like a telfa s dressing on it it’s non stick
Then there were the replies from friends that don't work in the medical field. Some of it is practical advice like from my friend Jeffery who shared his experience with blisters while serving in the military.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Jeffery admits that he isn't a doctor but does point out that he has some life experience under his belt.
In the military where you get a lot of blisters from marching, running etc till your boots are broke in.You do not pop blisters. That can lead to infections. Let them pop naturally then treat and bandage them the best you can.You treat your feet, keep them dry, change your socks frequently. Wet socks from water or sweat causes your skin to get to wet. We all have done it from staying in water to long. That wet skin tears easily.Im not a doctor Ive just experienced a thing or two in my life.
Just Cut It Off
There were several replies from non-medical professionals, like my friend Chris who had an interesting and humorous solution.
Just cut off the toe.
Only Pop It After Dark
My friend Renee says her dad always told her that you can only pop them after dark.
If you pop them, you must do it at night. At least that’s what my dad always told me as a kid
I asked her for more details because I was intrigued. Here's what she said,
... I don’t think there is an explanation haha. But it’s an old wives tale I have happily passed down to my own kids
But it turns out she isn't alone. My friend Michael chimed in and said he's heard that too.
...grandpa said the same except he would add when the moons out
Another friend, Rick also says you have to wait until dark.
I was brought up the same way you wait till after the sun sets
The Final Decision
After consulting with my nurse (and non-nurse) friends, it seems it is best to wait out a blister if you're able. Clearly, just leaving it alone to heal is the best option.