Blisters 4 min read

How to treat a Friction Blister

How to treat a Friction Blister How to treat a Friction Blister How to treat a Friction Blister

Blisters often heal on their own without treatment. New skin will form underneath the affected area and the fluid is simply reabsorbed. The fluid-filled blister keeps the underlying skin clean, which prevents infection and promotes healing. Applying a cold or ice pack may temporarily help reduce swelling and discomfort. However, blisters can often be very painful, so treating with a specialist blister bandage like COMPEED® can help, because the cushioning relieves the pressure which reduces the pain.

The primary goals of treatment should be to prevent expansion of the lesion, reduce discomfort, promote healing, and prevent infection. Using a COMPEED® specialist blister cushion helps create the optimal healing environment by absorbing excess fluid, helping to accelerate the body’s natural wound healing process.

The main objective is to keep the blister intact for as long as possible, because the skin provides a natural protection against infection. However, if pain persists or if infection is suspected, a physician should be consulted.

Identify your blister’s stage

The first thing you’ll need to do is to identify which stage your blister is at. Take a close look at your blister roof. Is it intact, torn or deroofed?

If it is intact: In order to prevent further damage, you will need to reduce friction or rubbing on the blister. Gently clean the area and apply a plaster. It is recommended to apply a specialist blister cushion (see diagram) as opposed to an ordinary bandage. They will do a better job of protecting your blister because they securely seal the edge of the bandage to the skin, which helps prevent painful rubbing. You will need to choose the right size of cushion, and depending on where your blister is located (toe, heel, etc.) you can also choose specially shaped bandages such as COMPEED® Advanced Blister Care hydrocolloid gel-based cushions. These specialist blister pads will provide better cushioning and therefore, in addition to providing instant pain relief, will effectively isolate the blister from the source of friction.

The main objective is to keep the blister intact for as long as possible, because the skin provides a natural protection against infection.

If your blister is torn or deroofed: Your blister will need an antiseptic to prevent infection. If you don’t have access to an antiseptic, at least rinse your blister with saline (salty) water or clean running water. Once this is done, the best course of action is to cover the drained blister with a clean bandage. In this instance hydrocolloid cushions are particularly well-suited. They will provide you with a better cushioning, thus alleviating pain in this highly sensitive area. They will create a protective and moist environment which will allow for faster healing of the blister. These plasters interact with your exposed blister base to stimulate healing from the outside-in, plus they are superior to ordinary bandages as they are cushioned, waterproof, and stay in place longer.

How often should you change your bandages?

If you are using ordinary bandages, they need to be changed when they are visibly soiled with blister fluids, dirt or water from the environment (e.g. showering, rain, etc). Depending on many factors, you may need to change your bandage anywhere between every hour to once a day. On the other hand, hydrocolloid blister bandages such as those of the COMPEED® Advanced Blister Care range are waterproof, sweat-proof, stay in place for several days and heal faster.

For deroofed blisters, specialist blister cushions like COMPEED® only need to be changed when it starts to peel off, or when the white bubble formed by the blister fluids underneath the dressing reaches the edge of the cushion. It is perfectly fine to leave a hydrocolloid bandage on for several days. For intact (unbroken skin) blisters, COMPEED® stays in place until the cushion edges start to lift, and up to several days. Do not be tempted to remove them earlier to allow the blister time to heal.

Should you drain or pop a blister?

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How to prevent and treat blisters?

Although it was common practice not so long ago, blister drainage is not recommended anymore because it can cause an infection. However, if a blister is large, painful or likely to be further irritated, it could be better to drain it in order to relieve pain or prevent accidental tearing of the roof. It is important to clean the wound with antiseptic or salt water to avoid infection. Once cleaned, using a COMPEED® Advanced Blister Care cushions will help to seal the wound to prevent the risk of further infection and help speed up the healing process.

If you are concerned about possible infection, please consult a doctor. The signs of infection to look out for are:

  • Pus: yellowish and thicker than normal blister fluid
  • Increased pain, swelling, redness, warmth
  • Red streaks extending from the blister (seek medical attention).