How to treat a blister

Recently I was asked how to take care of blisters so I am going to show you a technique I use to treat blisters.

There are basically two types of blisters: A “water” blister and a Blood Blister.

Small Intact BlisterBlood blister






As you can probably see the difference between the two, so I won’t be explaining them.

As for treatment.  Size, location and presentation determine your next step.  There is typically three ways a blister will be presented: 1) Intact 2) Partial Rupture 3) Complete Rupture

Intact Blister

Small Intact Blister

In an intact blister you have two options you can leave it alone if it is not painful.  I find that it is better to pop them.  This is my opinion and not a medical fact.  I feel that by popping them you can get the skin to lay flat, which helps prevent any further spreading of the blister.  If the blister is left full it has the potential to cause damage the surrounding good tissue.

If you want to pop this type of blister then use a sterile needle and insert it into the base of the blister.  Gently squeeze the fluid out.  Make sure all the fluid is out and then cover it with a band aide.

If the intact blister is larger than a nickel it may be a good idea to pop it using a scalpel.  The reason you need a scalpel is because you will want to fill the blister with zinc oxide. Fill a tiny syringe with zinc oxide and then inject the small opening of the popped blister.  This helps dry out the blister, form a quasi callus and hopefully reduce any pain they be cased due to the rubbing.

Partial Rupture

Partial Rupture Blister

A partial rupture can be treated with either the zinc oxide method or with the tape callus method, coming up next.  If you want to do the taped callus method, usually done on partial ruptures that are more the 30% ripped off, then carefully remove all the blister skin.  Avoid cutting any good skin!

Complete Rupture

Complete Rupture Blister Open Blister

This is a blister where all of the skin has ripped off.  This is VERY common.  The great thing about this type of blister is that it is really easy to treat!  In fact, it is my preferred way of dealing with all blisters.

What you will need for this is a can of Quick Drying Adhesive (QDA), a role of white athletic tape and a role of flexy tape (optional).

Step 1

spray blister with QDAClean the area.  Make sure you have no sock fuzz, toe gunk or funky snot in the area.  You will then spray the blister area with the QDA.  NOTE: This is INCREDIBLY painful.  NOTE_2: The chemicals in the adhesive are sterile and are the same chemicals used in glue like sutures in an emergency room.


Step 2Put tape on Blister

After letting the spray dry for a few seconds apply 1 piece of tape, just bigger than the wound over about three quarters of the exposed blister.

Step 3

Over lap tapeWith another piece of tape cover up half of the first piece of tape.  Make sure the entire blister is completely covered by the two pieces of tape.  You will want the over lapping area to be right down the middle of the blistered area, this is where the callus will be created.


Step 4Create the Callus with the tape

Repeat Step 2 and 3 at least until you have 6 to 7 pieces of tape down.  You are creating a callus with the tape, so it needs to be fairly thick.  You don’t want to go more than this, because it is just not needed.

Step 5

Wrap the tapeMake sure all the loose strings from the tape are removed.  Give the tape a good firm press to make sure it is sticking completely to the skin.  You don’t want any bubbles between the tape and the foot or between the tape and the tape.  After this you can wrap the tape with a stretchy style tape or another piece of athletic tape, depending on the area. Sometimes all you need is a sock!

When should you remove the tape?

NEVER!  Let the tape fall off naturally.  You can shower with the tape on and everything.  Sometimes the tape will fall off in the shower, just reapply it.  Usually it stays on for a few days.  The good thing about this type of treatment is that our skin is replaced from the inside out.  This means that it will push the tape off when it is not needed anymore.

There you have it.  This is how I prefer to deal with blisters.  I have used this taping technique on the soon to be Super Bowl Champs (San Francisco 49ers), many elite University and Olympic athletes and even a Ninja Warrior!

Let me know if you have any question on this treatment.

Final Note: This is meant for educational purposes and has not been proven through effective research.  It has anecdotal evidence supporting its use, but other than that this is not intended to be used as a medical treatment.  If you need medical attention please see a physician or other health care provider.


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