Med Tent: Treating And Preventing Blisters

The ballooned outside skin is your body’s way of preventing infection.

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A blister forms because you’ve ruptured cell tissue and released plasma (the fluid in a blister), and the ballooned outside skin is your body’s way of preventing infection.

To Pop Or Not To Pop?
If you
pop a blister, you risk infection. If you don’t, you have to protect it.
I recommend popping blisters that are big enough to inhibit your sports activity. If you pop it, use a needle sterilized in alcohol. Wash the blister several times a day and cover it with some antibiotic ointment and
 a waterproof bandage. If you don’t pop it, cut a piece of moleskin in a donut shape and place it over the blister, with the blister in the open center. The moleskin will absorb the friction of activity, and as long as the skin is clean and dry, it will adhere. Moleskin and other “second skin” products should allow you to get back to your regular activities.

Beware Strange Colors.
If your blister is painful, oozing pus and red around the edges, you may have an infection. See a doctor.

Let It Breathe.
Air and water are good for healing, so at night remove the dressing, soak the blister in some water for 10 minutes, and then let it air out for the rest of the night.

Kill Any Itch.
If the blister itches or burns, apply a little of the hemorrhoid cream Preparation H.

Wear Fashions That Fit.
Properly fitted shoes and socks won’t give you blisters. If you feel a part of your foot rubbing, back off and address the problem. A thick waterproof bandage can help protect the area, and in a pinch, so will a piece of duct tape applied directly over the blister.

Prevent Them.
Anything that reduces friction in the area will prevent blisters. Try double-layer socks. Putting petroleum jelly between your toes can also help.

RELATED: How To Treat Common Foot Ailments

New York City sports medicine specialist Jordan D. Metzl, M.D. is a 29-time marathon finisher and 10-time Ironman. His book, The Athlete’s Book of Home Remedies, has more than 1,000 tips to fix all types of injuries and medical conditions.

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