Fact Checked

What Causes Foot Blisters?

Madeleine A.
Madeleine A.

Foot blisters are typically caused by the skin rubbing against the inner surface of a shoe or socks rubbing against moist skin. The injured skin then fills with straw-colored fluid, and eventually heals after about a week. Making sure that shoes fit properly and wearing socks with shoes can help prevent foot blisters. Covering the foot blister with a bandage should be done at the first sign to keep dirt and bacteria out. A small amount of antibiotic ointment can also be placed on the pad of the bandage to prevent infection after the blister breaks.

As the blister begins to heal, the bandage can be removed to expose the blister to air, which will facilitate healing. When wearing shoes, padding the pressure points with cotton balls can help reduce friction and reduce the risk of further injury. It is typically not recommended for a person to drain the blister, however, if attempts are made to do so, the needle and the skin should be sterilized with rubbing alcohol. It used to be common practice to hold a needle under a match or lighter to sterilize it, but this should be done with caution to avoid burns. After the needle is sterilized, the blister can then be gently pricked to allow the fluid to escape.

Wearing foot blisters can cause foot blisters.
Wearing foot blisters can cause foot blisters.

Rarely, foot blisters can become infected, characterized by pain, inflammation, and pus formation at the site. Infected foot blisters require the attention of a health care provider, who can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics. Severe infections of foot blisters may produce body-wide symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, and nausea, and when noticed, these symptoms need prompt evaluation and treatment.

Topical antibiotics can be used to fight or prevent infection in blisters.
Topical antibiotics can be used to fight or prevent infection in blisters.

Foot pads can be purchased at most drug stores that can ease pressure and friction from tight shoes. These gel-filled pads act as shock absorbers. Even certain brands of athletic shoes come equipped with gel cushions, strategically placed around pressure points of the shoe, such as the backs and the sides of the shoes.

Getting foot blisters during the summer is common. Wearing flip flops can create extreme friction between the first and second toes of the feet, causing blisters to from quickly. These blisters are typically painful and can take weeks to heal. A blister sufferer should not wear flip flops or similarly styled sandals, and should treat the blisters with home remedies to allow the blisters to heal uneventfully.

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Discussion Comments


My sister runs marathons and she often gets blood blisters from running. I think this is fairly common in runners but it does look bad and takes some time to heal. I agree that wearing ill-fitting shoes aggravate these issues.


@bluedolphin-- Almost everyone experiences this. I think what happens is that since we wear socks and closed shoes all winter, our skin becomes softer and more sensitive. So when we switch over to sandals where skin comes into contact with shoes, chafing occurs which causes blisters. As the blisters scab over and as the skin becomes thicker, these issues eventually resolve.

Although summer blisters may not be entirely preventable, you can reduce the chances by wearing leather sandals. Leather is the best material. Man-made materials tend to cause more chafing and irritate skin more. Also, make sure that the shoes or sandals are comfortable and fit right.


I never get foot blisters in winter. I always get them in the beginning of summer. As soon as I start wearing open shoes and sandals, the blisters start forming. It seems like I have to go through with this every year until my feet get used to it. Eventually the blisters scab over and new ones don't occur. But it takes about a month for the issue to go away. I always carry bandages with me in the summer for this reason.

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    • Wearing foot blisters can cause foot blisters.
      By: sparkia
      Wearing foot blisters can cause foot blisters.
    • Topical antibiotics can be used to fight or prevent infection in blisters.
      By: Coprid
      Topical antibiotics can be used to fight or prevent infection in blisters.