By Dr. Ken Lefkowitz

Everything about your new shoes is perfect—that is, until you begin to feel the throbbing pain on the side of your toe that announces the appearance of a nasty blister. Tight shoes that rub against the foot during movement can cause these painful bumps, which appear as fluid-filled bubbles on the skin. This is why “breaking in” a new pair of shoes is a common cause of blisters.

So, you’ve danced all night in those high heels that pinch your toes, and you’ve awoken to discover a bubble of skin on your toe that wasn’t there last night. It may feel tender to the touch. Stop where you are—no matter how tempting it may be, do not squeeze it and attempt to pop it with your fingers. The skin over a blister, when left unbroken, provides a natural barrier to bacteria, decreasing the risk of infection. If the blister isn’t causing you much pain, simply cover it with an adhesive bandage and leave it alone. Do not puncture it unless it is causing you discomfort, in which case you must perform the correct procedure to drain the fluid which is contained in the “bubble”. The goal is to drain this clear fluid while keeping the overlying skin intact. First, wash both your hands and the blister thoroughly, and swab it with rubbing alcohol. Next, sterilize a sharp needle by wiping it with the rubbing alcohol and use it to puncture the blister near its edge. Gently use a tissue to extract as much of the fluid as possible, and then apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage.

If you see signs of an infection (puss, redness, pain that is increasing, or warm skin) around a blister on your foot, call Quality Foot Care, your local Doylestown podiatry office, at 215-230-9707.