The Facts on Foot Blisters:

What Are Blisters?

image of blister on heel

A blister is a bubble of fluid that forms beneath a thin layer of dead skin. The blister fluid is typically made up of water and proteins.

You can get blisters anywhere on the skin of your feet where there is shoe rubbing or irritation, but they’re most commonly found on the back of the heel, sides of the foot and pinky toes. Often, blisters are accompanied by discomfort or pain as they rub against shoes.

What Causes Blisters?

Improperly fitting shoes, and the rubbing or friction you get with them, are the main causes of blisters on feet. When your shoes rub against the skin on your foot, the resulting friction leads to the development of a friction blister. This is because the friction causes your skin layers to separate away from each other, allowing fluid (serum) to fill the separation.

Foot blisters are commonly seen in people who live an active lifestyle. You can also get blisters from vigorous activity – even when your shoes fit properly. Friction is the main factor, so any repetitive movement involving your feet can lead to blisters.

Hot or moist skin increases the force of friction, so sweaty feet can also increase the likelihood of developing a blister.

image of couple hiking


Friction blisters can be prevented by removing the cause of the friction. This includes:

  • Wearing shoes that are comfortable and fit well, and gradually break-in new shoes. Keep in mind that stiffer shoes are more likely to cause blistering than a more flexible-fit shoe.
  • Wearing shoes specifically designed for your activities, especially during exercise and sports
  • Wearing hosiery or socks to reduce friction of your foot rubbing against your shoes, especially with new shoes or shoes that have seams or rough areas that could cause rubbing. Athletic socks that absorb moisture work best.
  • Using a protective blister band aid on your foot, or inserting a protective pad in your shoe, in areas that are likely to rub and cause blisters (often used at the heel). Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin for blisters can be cut to any size and attached to your foot or to the inside of your shoe.
  • Using blister sprays or balms to create a barrier on your skin and prevent chafing


Treatments tips if you have a foot blister include:

  • Keeping the foot clean and dry while it heals.
  • Protecting the area so the blister can heal. Use cushioning products specifically designed for blisters to help protect them so you can move more comfortably. Dr. Scholl’s® Blister Cushions with Duragel® technology are packaged in sterile form to help prevent a blister from developing an infection
  • Wearing shoes that don’t rub against the blister and wearing socks with your shoes.
  • For small blisters, using a regular adhesive bandage to keep the protective layer of skin over the blister intact.
  • For blisters in difficult locations (e.g. the bottom of your foot) – try creating a round, donut shaped bandage around the blister. This may reduce the pressure on the blister and keep the protective layer of skin over the blister intact.

When possible, it is best to not burst, or break, the skin covering a blister. This is because blisters will often heal themselves, with the fluid slowly being absorbed back into the skin, as the skin heals. Popping a blister can increase the risk of infection, by exposing the injury to bacteria in your environment.

See your doctor if you are having trouble walking, or if you think your blister is infected. You should seek medical care if you are finding the blister very painful, and/or are having trouble walking, or if you see signs of infection. These signs can include pus on or around the blister, a spreading redness, pain, swelling, and warm skin.


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