5 Ways To Avoid Blisters (and the Best Way To Treat Them) (2024)

There’s nothing quite like a pair of new kicks … and unfortunately, there’s also nothing quite like the dread of breaking them in.


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Blisters, painful and fluid-filled, can be the scourge of new shoe wearers. But they’re just one of your body’s many ways of trying to look out for you. They form to protect irritated skin.

But is there any way to prevent them from cropping up? And what can you do about them once they make an appearance? Foot specialist Georgeanne Botek,DPM, explains how to prevent blisters on your feet and what to do if you already have them.

How to prevent blisters on your feet

Whileblisterscan have many causes, the most common reason isfriction — the force of two surfaces rubbing against each other. In this case, the surfaces are your shoes and your skin. The repeated friction of walking causes your top layer of skin to weaken and start to separate from the layers beneath it.

There are other types of blisters, too, like those caused by minor burns, blood blisters from pinching or crushing injuries to your skin and those frommedical conditions. But in this case, we’re specifically talking about shoe-induced blisters on your toes and feet.

“The best way to deal with blisters is to avoid them in the first place,” Dr. Botek says. She offersfive ways to keep blisters at bay.

1. Wear shoes that fit

There are lots of reasons to wear properly fitted shoes, and here’s another one to add to the list. Wearing shoes that are too big or too small can encourage extra friction, which means an extra chance of blisters.

“Any shoe that doesn’t fit well can result in skin irritation,” Dr. Botek warns. Plus, your feet can change in width or size as you age, so be sure your shoes change in size to accommodate them.

2. Choose the right shoes for the activities you’re doing

If you’ve ever shopped for sneakers and wondered why there are so many kinds, consider this: Different types of shoes are made for different activities, and wearing the wrong ones can put you at risk for serious injuries — and, yes, blisters.

If you’re taking part in an athletic activity that calls for specialized footwear (like boxing, cycling, hiking and running), wearing the right shoes helps keep your feet safe.

And the same is true for walking. Whether you’re walking to work or wandering around a new city on vacation, try walking shoes rather than slip-on sneakers and unsupportive sandals.

3. Break in newshoesahead of time

You’re itching to wear those new shoes out in the world, but patience is a virtue. And it can go a long way in preventing blisters.

“Break shoes in slowly before you wear them for long periods of time,” Dr. Botek advises. “This is true for dress shoes, high-heeled shoes and boots, as well as for any shoes that you’ll wear for athletic activities like running, accelerating, quick stopping and jumping.”

Ease into your new shoes by wearing them indoors in short spurts. Put a bandage or a bit of petroleum jelly (like Vaseline®) on any spots where they’re rubbing or irritating your skin.

4. Keep feet dry

“If you tend to have sweaty feet, you’re going to be more prone to blisters,” Dr. Botek says. She suggests applying a drying agent to yourfeetbefore you work out, play sports or do anything else that might make you sweat.

Drying agents that can help with sweaty feet include:

  • Aluminum chloride.
  • Corn starch.
  • Talc-free foot powder.

“You can even apply a drying agent the night before to help prevent overly sweaty feet throughout the day,” she adds.

5. Wear socks with your shoes

Wearing socks helps keep your feet dry and reduces friction, which keeps blisters from forming. But choosing the right type of socks is key.

  • Wear moisture-wicking socks. “Choose breathable socks that hold their shape and wick the moisture from your skin,” Dr. Botek recommends, “especially for athletic activities where you’re likelyto sweat.” Synthetic socks are often preferred over all-cotton, which can trap moisture and make things sweatier.
  • Watch your seams. You could develop blisters if the seams of your socks rub your skin at an uncomfortable angle. If you experience this problem, look for seamless socks, like those specially designed for runners.
  • Bring an extra pair. Stash another pair in your bag or your car, just in case you get sweaty and need to make a quick change.

Bonus tip: Prevent blisters on your hands

Your feet aren’t the only spot where blisters can develop. To keep your hands and fingers blister-free, Dr. Botek recommends wearing gloves for activities like raking, shoveling, moving heavy objects and lifting weights.

“Wash your hands frequently and use a towel to be sure that your hands are dry, which will help you prevent blisters,” she says. “Even playing video games or other repetitive motions for extended periods of time can give you blisters, too, so just be aware of the onset of redness, drainage or sweating and pain.”

How to treat foot blisters

Ugh, bad news: You’re reading this after you’ve already gotten a blister. Now what?

“You can take care of most blisters that occur because of friction or minor burns yourself,” Dr. Botek says.

They typically go away on their own within a week or two — but in the meantime, here are the best ways to care for it so that you can heal ASAP.

If it doesn’t hurt, don’t pop it

The most common type of blister you get from shoes is called a sterile blister — the kind filled with a clear, watery liquid called serum (or, sometimes, with clear plasma).

“Typically, new skin forms underneath the skin, and that fluid will absorbback into your skin,” Dr. Botek explains. “So, as long as it’s not painful, the general rule is not to pop it.”


Think of a blister as your body’s own form of bandage: It’s there to keep your skin safe! So, try to keep your hands off and let your body do its thing. (Plus, popping it can raise your risk of infection.)

If you must pop it, do so very carefully

If your sterile blister is painful, Dr. Botek recommends opening one of the edges of the blister — not the center — and leaving the outer layer intact. Follow best practices for popping a blister safely and sterilely.

“After you open it, keep the area as clean as possible to prevent infections,” Dr. Botek states. “Topical ointments like iodine or other over-the-counter topical antibiotic products can help keep it clean while it’s healing.”

Keep the blister covered and change the bandage regularly.

Know the signs of an infection

If you pop a blister and the liquid that drains is clear, that’s the sign of a sterile blister. Liquid that’s white or milky yellow is a sign of infection.

“You don’t necessarily need oral antibiotics at that point,” Dr. Botek clarifies, “but you should be more diligent in wound care, using over-the-counter antimicrobial topical wound gels and monitoring it closely in case it does need medical treatment.”

When to see a doctor

If a blister becomes an infection and gets worse instead of improving, it’s time to seek medical treatment.

“If the blister worsens or if the drainage persists even after you’ve drained the blister, seek out a physician’s care,” Dr. Botek advises. Other signs of infection include:

  • Swelling and redness.
  • Tenderness or pain.
  • Warm skin around the wound.
  • A bad smell.
  • Pus.

If your wound doesn’t seem to be healing and you notice red or purplish streaks on your skin, seek emergency care immediately. This is a sign of cellulitis, a bacterial infection that can quickly become life-threatening.

Blisters and diabetes: Take extra caution

In people with diabetes, even a small blister can lead to a more serious wound, especially if you have risk factors like:

  • Loss of feeling.
  • Poor circulation.
  • Unmanaged blood glucose.

“If you have a blister and any of these conditions, you should be evaluated by a healthcare provider more urgently,” Dr. Botek emphasizes.


5 Ways To Avoid Blisters (and the Best Way To Treat Them) (2024)


5 Ways To Avoid Blisters (and the Best Way To Treat Them)? ›

Dress the blister like you would a wound, using antibiotic ointment and gauze or a Band-Aid. Cut and place Molefoam with a doughnut hole around the area to prevent further irritation; for added protection, fill the hole with antibiotic ointment or a blister pad, then add a layer of tape over the top.

Which is one way to treat blisters 5 points? ›

Dress the blister like you would a wound, using antibiotic ointment and gauze or a Band-Aid. Cut and place Molefoam with a doughnut hole around the area to prevent further irritation; for added protection, fill the hole with antibiotic ointment or a blister pad, then add a layer of tape over the top.

How do you treat blisters? ›

Apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to the blister and cover it with a nonstick bandage or gauze pad. After several days, cut away the dead skin. Use tweezers and scissors that you sterilize with an antiseptic wipe or rubbing alcohol.

What are precautions for blisters? ›

Avoid the activity or clothing that caused the blister

By avoiding the activity or clothing that caused the blister, people can allow the skin time to heal. In the meantime, people can wear properly fitting and comfortable socks, shoes, or gloves that may protect against any further blistering.

How to prevent a blister when you feel it coming? ›

Apply powder or petroleum jelly to problem areas.

This helps reduce friction when your skin rubs together or rubs against clothing.

How to avoid blisters on hands? ›

Wear the Right Gloves

Rubbing your hands against exercise equipment is one of the primary causes of hand blisters. This friction can be very unpleasant when lifting large objects or engaging in activities that need you to hold onto handles or bars. Choose the correct gloves to reduce friction.

Is it better to pop a blister or leave it? ›

New skin will form underneath the affected area and the fluid is simply absorbed. Do not puncture a blister unless it is large, painful, or likely to be further irritated. The fluid-filled blister keeps the underlying skin clean, which prevents infection and promotes healing.

Does ice help blisters? ›

A cold or ice pack may help reduce swelling and discomfort. Keep the area clean and dry. Do not burst or puncture the blister. If the blister bursts, place a bandage or dressing on the area to keep it clean.

How to heal blisters naturally? ›

A few home remedies for blisters include aloe vera, green tea, tea tree oil, petroleum jelly, and coconut oil.

Is Vaseline good for blisters? ›

You may cover the blister with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a non-stick bandage. Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.

What makes blisters better? ›

Apply antiseptic and a dressing or sticking plaster to the area to protect it and keep it free from dirt or irritants. Don't use tape alone for the dressing, as removing the tape may rip the roof skin off the blister. Change the dressing daily and re-apply antiseptic.

How to avoid heel blisters? ›

If the back of your foot slides up and down every time you take a step, blisters often result. To prevent this, your heel should be locked in place inside your shoes—one of the most important criteria for a good footwear fit.

How to care for a blister? ›

They will heal naturally on their own. However, if a blister breaks it should be cleaned often with soap and warm water. Antibacterial soap, betadine, and hydrogen peroxide can all be used to clean the area. Be sure to leave the top layer of skin on to avoid infection and help speed the healing process.

What is a common treatment for blisters? ›

Blisters generally heal on their own within a few days. You can do a few things at home to make them more comfortable: Wash the area gently with a mild soap. Apply antibacterial cream or ointment.

What is the best blister treatment? ›

Try not to pop or drain it. Leave it uncovered or cover loosely with a bandage. Try not to put pressure on the area. If the blister is in a pressure area such as the bottom of the foot, put a donut-shaped moleskin on it.

How to treat blisters from pointe? ›

By taking pressure off of your feet, your blisters will heal faster. However, if you cannot take a break, soak your feet in an Epsom salt bath. The Epsom salts and warm water will heal the skin and help reduce swelling. This method is also great as a preventative measure and will stop new blisters from forming.

How do you treat blisters in basketball? ›

Never deliberately burst a blister, but if it does open, clean it with mild soapy water, soak it in a salt water footbath for 10 minutes, and apply a fresh blister bandage. Once the pain is under control, you can get back on track with your goals.


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