The facts of life are constructed with minor annoyances and inconveniences. We try to be healthier by hiking and running, only to end up with blistered feet. We set out to complete some yard work only to be thwarted by blistered hands. Stopping the weeks of discomfort following that long run or weekend in the garden just takes a little knowledge and precautionary action.
Even empowered, you might still find yourself facing a blood blister. Here are some things to know about that situation for your own health journey.
What is a Blood Blister?
Blisters are skin abnormalities where fluid or air pockets form from friction, trauma, or disease. In the specific case of blood blisters, these bubbles are filled with blood. The blood is a result of busted vessels underneath the top layer of the epidermis. You don’t have to worry about continued bleeding or infection with a blood blister that remains intact until healed.
Causes of Blood Blisters
The mass of blood blisters are formed by skin that is pinched enough to break blood vessels, but not break the top layer of skin. The blood then fills into a bubble while regenerating cells. A few other things are known to result in blood blisters include:
- Severe frostbite
- Friction from repeated rubbing
- Ill-fitting shoes
- Sweaty feet against shoes
Occasionally, blood blisters are a symptom of a differing condition.
In these instances the blisters will appear within the mouth and could be alluding to:
- Mouth cancer
- Alcoholism or excessive drinking
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Bleeding disorders
- Allergic reaction
Please visit a physician if you form blood blisters in the mouth. A few blisters on other body parts are not in serious need of medical attention and can be addressed with first aid, home remedies, or the miracle cure of time. Earnest illness or infection needs professional attention.
How Long Does a Blood Blister Last?
Blisters are tricky to form a generalized prognosis for because the sources and severity can span such a wide spectrum. But, generally speaking, how long does a blood blister last?
Professionals with experience in the arena estimate that a normal time for a blood blister to heal is within one to two weeks. Leaving the affected spot alone is the best course of treatment. Anything (popping, breaking, medicating, etc) could cause additional, unnecessary, skin damage that could lead to infections or scarring.
Scar tissue could last anywhere from a few months to indefinitely. Practicing careful blister responsibility for a few weeks could limit an unattractive blemish for the rest of your life.
Best Treatments for Blood Blisters
If you cannot stand to leave the blood blister to its own devices, you still have options. Dealing with pain can negatively affect life, so let us address pain management first.
Over the counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Aleve) are sufficient to deal with the level of pain a blood blister will deliver. Icing the area can also numb the nerves. Be certain to place a towel between skin and the ice to avoid damaging skin further. Cover the blisters with padding from a bandage, moleskin, or similar barrier. You want to avoid popping the bump at all costs.
Prevention Tips for New Sandals or Shoes
Friction on the feet is the leading cause of blisters, blood or otherwise. While there is no magical formula to stop any particular shoe from giving you blisters, you can hedge your best with some prevention tips from the Washington Post.
Tie or fasten shoes tightly. Tighten up those laces to ensure your foot isn’t moving around within the shoe.
Absorb moisture. Sweaty feet will equal blisters. Sprinkle talc or medicated powder into your sneakers before that workout. Consider adding a moisture-absorbing sole insert if you are prone to excessive sweat on your feet. Invest in moisture-wicking fabric for socks like wool or a synthetic blend designed for activity. Cotton is a breathable fabric, but doesn’t pull moisture away from the foot in an area that it pools.
Use surgical tape. This mildly sticky tape, found at any drugstore, provides a barrier against shoes. The adhesive is less aggressive than many bandage brands and won’t rip off the top layer of skin (which can make you more vulnerable to blisters). A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine showed a 40% reduction in blisters for marathon runners with the use of paper tape. The tactic was measured up against a plethora of alternatives like lubricants, antiperspirants, powders, and adhesive pads and propelled well-beyond competitors in the trials.
Get a pedicure. Soft, moisturized, callous-free feet are less likely to form blisters from the harsher skin layers. Shortened nails prevent forming nail blisters from friction against the tops of shoes.
Choose shoes based on blister potential. Leather is a more breathable material than synthetics. Pointy toes are basically begging for blisters to form in the unnatural shape. Forgo fashion for comfort if blisters continuously plague you. A writer confessed to the Post that she wears ugly shoes to avoid blisters and just accepts her fate, for example.
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