Blood blisters are really like any other blister except for the red fluid in the blister that consists of blood, lymph and some other bodily fluids. Rough abrasions, fungal infections like athlete’s foot and even frostbite can all cause blood blisters to appear. Athletes, soldiers in training or combat, mechanics, construction workers and even musicians are the ones who most commonly experience blood blisters on their hands or their feet. Home remedies and preventions can help you stay away from this injury.
Causes of Blood Blisters
Blood blisters on your fingers or your toes can be quite painful. A lot of time, excessive pinching of the skin will cause a blood blister to appear. If you wear shoes that fit too tightly or rub the skin on your feet and toes in a bad way, blood blisters will no doubt form there. If you’ve ever closed your finger in the door before, then you no doubt have experienced a blood blister. Other causes of blood blisters include sunburns, skin burns from cooking, exposure to harsh chemicals, skin infections like eczema, and some prescription or even over the counter medications. Burns on your skin especially cause blood blisters as the heat from the burn can cause blood vessels to rupture and the retention of fluid in the affected area.
Treatments for Blood Blisters
1. Cover the Blisters
It’s very important to keep the skin over your blister intact, which provides a barrier between the wound under your skin and the bacteria swirling around outside your skin. If your blister is not too painful cover it with an adhesive bandage. For larger blood blisters use a plastic-coated gauze pad. You want to use gauze that will absorb moisture and allow your blister to breathe.
2. Ban Popping Them
Do not pop any blood blister unless the pain is so severe that it is keeping you from being able to use either the foot or hand that it is on. Even then, you must puncture your blister with care. Seeking professional help for this is always wise and if you have a preexisting condition like diabetes or poor circulation; do not pop a blood blister without going to see a doctor.
3. Drain a Blister Correctly
You can drain a blood blister on your own while still leaving the skin over it perfectly intact. Here’s how:
- Start by washing both your hands and the blister with warm water and soap.
- Swab the blister with something like rubbing alcohol or iodine.
- Get a small, sharp needle and sterilize it by dipping it into rubbing alcohol.
- Aim for spots near the edges around the base of your blister and puncture those areas with the needle. Allow the blood and fluid to drain out but do not touch the skin over the blister.
- Once everything has drained apply some antibiotic ointment for good measure and cover with an adhesive bandage or gauze pad.
- After a few days, get some tweezers and scissors to cut away the dead skin from your blister. Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize the scissors and tweezers. Apply more ointment and re-bandage.
Preventions for Blood Blisters
Blood blisters are painful, inconvenient and can sometimes be difficult to get rid of. Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent blood blisters from appearing on your fingers and toes. If pain is persistent or your blisters continue to reappear, you should see a doctor immediately. Otherwise, try to avoid the causes of blood blisters and take care of them with the methods listed below if you do get them.
1. Keep Hands and Feet Dry
First and foremost it is important to keep your hands and feet dry. Too much moisture can cause the layers of skin to separate, which often results in the formation of blisters. Wearing gloves that are designed to wick away moisture and prevent pinching while you work with your hands will help prevent blisters from forming on your fingers and palms. For your feet, try wearing shoes that are comfortable and fit your feet properly. Also, wear socks that provide ample cushioning and are made to absorb moisture out of your feet.
2. Avoid Abrasion
Avoiding harsh abrasions on your skin is integral to preventing blood blisters from forming. A bad fall on hard ground can cause these abrasions so be sure you clear hazardous items out of the way, wear appropriate shoes for the terrain you’re walking on and wear safety gear when playing sports, riding a bike, skating or running. Also, protect your skin from the sun. Wear hats to protect your head, ears and face and be sure to reapply sunscreen throughout your time in the sun.
3. Apply Moleskin to Affected Areas
You can also apply moleskin, a tough, 2 layer tape with adhesive on one side and cloth on the other, to areas on your skin that are more likely to chafe. If your hand is rubbing against the handle of a tool you’re using or your toes are rubbing uncomfortably against the inside of your shoes, apply some moleskin to those areas.
4. Protect from Infections and Frostbite
Protecting your skin against fungal infections and frostbite from exposure to cold will greatly help to prevent blood blisters from forming. Fungal infections appear on your feet the most, so be sure to keep them dry and change your socks often. Do not go barefoot in public gyms, bathrooms, pools, etc. If you’re going to be exposed to cold weather wear attire that covers your skin while allowing ventilation and insulation from the cold. Your body pulls heat from your hands and feet first so wear heavy gloves and socks.