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How to Treat a Blister on Bottom of Foot: Discover Causes and Proven Relief Methods

8 Minute Read
Modern Foot & Ankle
February 15, 2024

Struggling with a blister on bottom of foot? Relief is closer than you think. This guide delivers clear, actionable steps to treat your foot blister, dives into the reasons they occur, and arms you with preventive measures to keep them at bay.

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Identifying Blisters on the Bottom of Your Foot

Illustration of a foot with a blister on the bottom

Foot blisters can significantly disrupt our daily activities due to the pain they cause. These fluid-filled pockets of skin, which can contain either a clear serum or blood, are easily identified by their thin, raised appearance. Blood blisters, a type of foot blisters, can be particularly painful and require proper care.

What are the steps to recognize a foot blister?

Visual Identification

A blister on the foot is a small pocket of body fluid that forms on the skin. It is usually caused by friction or burns. The shapes of these objects can vary, appearing either round or oval. Additionally, they may be filled with either clear or bloody liquid. The surrounding skin is often red, warm, and tender.

Next time you feel discomfort in your foot, a visual inspection might help you identify if it’s a blister causing the trouble.

Common Locations

The toes, soles, and heels are the areas most commonly affected by foot blisters, and these areas are where most foot blisters occur. These are the areas where your foot faces the most friction and pressure, especially if you have foot deformities like bunions, bone spurs, and hammertoes that increase pressure and rubbing in the affected area.

Pain and Discomfort

Let’s discuss the discomfort associated with these blisters. Blisters on the bottom of the foot can be quite painful, especially those caused by consistent rubbing from tight shoes. This can make walking uncomfortable until they heal. Ignoring these blisters and not removing the source of friction can lead to further complications.

What should you do when you encounter a painful blister? Here are some steps to manage the pain and discomfort:

  1. Immediately remove pressure from the blistered area.
  2. Protect the blister with a sterile dressing if it breaks.
  3. Utilize home treatments to lower the risk of repeated blisters and support healing.
  4. Healing should occur within about a week.

Causes of Blisters on the Bottom of the Foot

Photo of ill-fitting shoes causing blisters

Understanding the causes of foot blisters is key to their prevention. The most common cause of foot blisters is repetitive motions from activities like:

  • hiking
  • running
  • walking
  • cycling
  • other sports

These activities create friction leading to the formation of blisters. However, it’s not just the physical activities; other factors like poorly fitted footwear and excessive moisture can also cause foot blisters.

Certain medical conditions, such as fungal infections or immune disorders, can also contribute to blister formation on the feet. Let’s delve deeper into these causes.

Friction and Pressure

Friction blisters develop when persistent rubbing causes the skin’s upper layer to detach from those beneath it, consequently trapping fluid in the newly created space. Spending hours on your feet, prolonged walking or standing, especially in uncomfortable shoes, and repetitive movements in physical occupations, elevate the risk of experiencing increased pressure and friction leading to blisters.

Poorly Fitted Footwear

It’s not just the physical exertion; something as simple as your footwear can cause blisters too. Foot blisters can form as a result of:

  • wearing new, ill-fitting, or loosely tied footwear
  • shoes without appropriate socks, which may rub excessively against the skin
  • walking in tight or incorrect sizes of footwear such as sandals, boots, or high-heeled shoes for prolonged times

These factors can lead to the formation of tiny blisters and scaly skin, and it’s important to resist the urge to pop blisters for a proper healing process.

Moreover, the type of socks you wear matters too. The use of thin socks or those lacking sufficient moisture-wicking properties can exacerbate blister development when paired with shoes that do not fit well. It’s advisable to start with shorter walks or runs when wearing new shoes to build up tolerance and avoid blistering.

Excessive Moisture

Were you aware that excessive sweat on your feet can cause blisters? Excessive moisture on the feet increases the coefficient of friction, making the skin stickier and more susceptible to blister formation. The presence of moisture due to sweating disrupts the sync between skin and bone movement, resulting in soft tissue shear distortions, which can cause blisters.

Moreover, wet or damp socks and shoes can exacerbate the friction between the skin and material, increasing the likelihood of blister formation. Therefore, keeping your feet dry is vital to prevent blisters.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can also lead to the formation of blisters. Conditions such as:

  • Epidermolysis bullosa
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Bullous pemphigoid
  • Pemphigus

inherently make the skin more prone to blistering. Skin burns, insect bites, and physical trauma are also common external factors that can result in blister formation.

Contact dermatitis, which can be caused by an allergic reaction to allergens or irritants such as certain chemicals, can lead to blisters on the feet and the shedding of dead skin.

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Effective Home Remedies for Foot Blisters

Illustration of cold compress on foot blister

Understanding the causes of blisters is as crucial as learning effective treatment methods. A blister can be quite painful, and treating it properly is crucial to avoid further complications. Luckily, there are several home remedies that you can use to treat foot blisters effectively.

You can protect foot blisters and cover them with a cushion or bandage to provide relief and promote healing over a few days. However, the type of remedy you choose to heal foot blisters depends on the condition of the blister and the level of discomfort it is causing.

Cold Compress

One of the easiest ways to reduce discomfort and swelling from a foot blister is by applying a cold or ice pack. It’s recommended to wrap the cold pack or ice bag in a towel and gently press it against the blister for 10 to 30 minutes. This can provide immediate relief and reduce inflammation.

Elevation and Rest

Resting and elevating the foot can also facilitate the healing process. Elevating the foot involves keeping the affected foot above the level of the heart to decrease swelling and promote healing. This can be achieved by using pillows or cushions to support the foot in a raised position while lying down.

Resting the foot by reducing activity levels helps prevent further irritation of the blister and gives the body time to repair the damaged skin.

Proper Bandaging

Bandaging a blister properly is essential to protect it and prevent infection. Using a bandage provides pain relief for blisters, keeping the feet dry and wearing properly fitting shoes to prevent them from forming in the first place. If the blister has not ruptured, you can cover it with a sterile bandage or gauze, replacing the dressing daily to maintain cleanliness.

If the blister bursts, careful handling is crucial to avoid worsening the infection. Here’s what you should do to treat blisters:

  1. Wash the area gently with soap and water.
  2. Cover it with a sterile, loose bandage or gauze.
  3. You can also apply antibiotic ointments, such as Neosporin, to prevent infection.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help alleviate the pain from foot blisters. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, not only provide pain relief but also reduce inflammation associated with blisters.

Preventing Blisters on the Bottom of the Foot

Illustration of moisture-wicking socks

Prevention surpasses cure in effectiveness, and understanding what causes foot blisters aids in their prevention. Here are some tips to prevent blisters on the feet:

  • Wear shoes that fit well to avoid heel slipping and toe rubbing.
  • Keep feet dry with moisture-wicking socks.
  • Apply antiperspirants or cornstarch to reduce the formation of blisters.

Also, applying lubricants like petroleum jelly or using protective coverings such as sports tape and moleskin on problem areas can provide a friction barrier, helping to prevent friction blisters and avoiding blister formation.

Choosing the Right Footwear

The selection of appropriate footwear is a fundamental aspect of preventing foot blisters. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Measure both feet before purchasing shoes as they may not be the same size.
  2. Always choose shoes that are the right size and shape to prevent blisters.
  3. Ensure there is a finger’s width of space between the toes and the end of the shoe to allow feet to expand during exercise and reduce the risk of blisters.

When trying on new shoes, wear the same type of socks that you will regularly use with the shoes to ensure a proper fit and prevent blisters. It’s advisable to start with shorter walks or runs when wearing new shoes to build up tolerance and avoid blistering.

Moisture Management

Managing foot moisture effectively can also help prevent blisters. Avoiding cotton socks and choosing synthetic or wool socks that provide better moisture-wicking properties can help in keeping the feet dry. Talcum powder or cornstarch can be sprinkled in socks and shoes as a short-term remedy to absorb excess sweat and reduce the risk of blisters.

Changing socks during long activities, especially when they are wet from sweat or external sources like rain, is crucial for managing moisture. To help with this, wear moisture wicking socks. Applying antiperspirant on feet can effectively control sweat, and foot powders can contribute to maintaining the dryness of the skin.

Protective Barriers

Lastly, the use of protective barriers can help reduce friction and pressure points on the foot, thereby preventing blister formation. Using insoles or sole inserts adds extra padding and reduces friction in areas of the shoe that are susceptible to blistering, while blister-specific bandages, sports tape, or moleskin provide targeted protection.

Moleskin should be cut into a shape that encircles the blister, acting as a buffer without putting direct pressure on the blister itself, and secured with gauze or tape to protect an intact blister during activity.

Ensure proper hygiene and protection for blistered feet by keeping the affected area clean and dry. Apply a sterile bandage or blister pad to cushion the blister and prevent further irritation. If the blister is large, painful, or shows signs of infection, seek professional care from a podiatrist for appropriate treatment and guidance.

When to Seek Professional Help For Blister On Bottom Feet

Although most blisters can be effectively treated at home with the right care and preventive measures, certain cases necessitate professional medical intervention. If a blister shows signs of infection like:

  • discoloration
  • inflammation
  • not healing within a few days, making it difficult for blisters heal properly
  • bleeding when touched
  • foul smell
  • holes or peeling skin
  • an abnormal color such as purple, green, or yellow

It’s time to seek a doctor’s attention from Modern Foot Ankle.

An infected blister can lead to severe conditions like cellulitis or even life-threatening septic shock, especially if the infection spreads to the lymph nodes or bloodstream, or if a red streak extends from the blister up the leg. If the blister:

  • is severely painful
  • prevents walking
  • shows no signs of healing
  • feels warm
  • emits pus or an unpleasant odor
  • if you experience systemic symptoms such as fever or chills

Seek professional medical help immediately.


In conclusion, foot blisters, though common, can cause significant discomfort and disruption to our daily activities. However, understanding their causes, identifying them correctly, and knowing how to treat and prevent them can ensure that these minor nuisances don’t become major issues. Remember, if you notice any signs of infection or if your blister does not improve with home remedies, it’s important to seek professional help.

Common Questions

How do you treat a blister on the bottom of your foot?

To treat a blister on the bottom of your foot, avoid popping it, leave it uncovered or use a loose bandage, and avoid pressure on the area. Consider using a donut-shaped moleskin if the blister is in a pressure area. If the blister doesn't improve, see a doctor.

How long does it take for a blister under your foot to heal?

A blister under your foot typically takes 3 to 7 days to heal naturally. It's crucial to avoid bursting the blister to prevent infection and promote a speedy healing process.

What happens if I keep walking on a blister?

It's not ideal to keep walking on a blister because it may pop and lead to infection. Resting and properly protecting the blister is beneficial.

What causes blisters under feet?

Blisters under your feet can occur due to poorly fitted shoes causing friction, or from excessive moisture and perspiration. It's important to wear properly fitted shoes to prevent this issue.

How can I prevent blisters on the bottom of my feet?

To prevent blisters on the bottom of your feet, choose the right footwear, manage foot moisture, and use protective barriers to reduce friction and pressure points. These measures can help minimize the risk of developing blisters.

The information on our website is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. For any health-related concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional. Please note that any reliance on the information found on our site is solely at your own risk. For more details, please see our Medical Disclaimer.

About Modern Foot & Ankle

From the initial consultation to the final step of recovery, our podiatry teams ensure faster and more efficient healing with advanced treatment methods and personalized care.

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Last Updated: 
February 15, 2024
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