Diabetes blister on foot

3 Steps to Treating a Blister

A small blister from a new pair of shoes might seem harmless at first, but that tiny mark can lead to some big problems if you’re not careful. If the blister breaks, germs can get into your foot. These germs can cause not only an infection on the skin, but also in the bone. Bone infections are very difficult to treat, and when they worsen, you could end up with an amputation. Here are three steps to prevent a blister from turning into a serious problem:

  • Wash your feet carefully in gentle soap and water and dry them thoroughly. Then put a small amount of antibiotic ointment on a dressing and cover the wound.
  • Next, although a blister may seem like a small concern, place a call to someone on your medical team. You’ll probably get a foot exam and possibly an antibiotic to prevent infection.
  • Last, stop wearing the shoes that caused the blister, even if you think you’re on your way to “breaking them in.” A comfortable pair of shoes is one of the best investments you can make. And remember, they must properly fit your feet at the store. This kind of careful attention can prevent future problems.

What is a blister?

A blister is a fluid pocket in the skin which develops when the upper skin layers separate and the space between them fills with serum. Serum is the liquid part of the blood – it contains protective substances like antibodies.

The appearance is of a bubble on the skin. Sometimes a small blood vessel will bleed into the bubble, in which case rather than being clear it will be red. Occasionally the contents of a blister will become infected and the contents will become cloudy as the blister may then contain pus.

Most blister formation is a self-defence strategy by the body. The purpose is to protect the skin beneath from further injury and encourage fast healing. The associated pain also has a protective effect. Blisters are caused by pressure and friction and we are therefore less likely to continue the activity that causes them if they become increasingly painful.

What causes foot blisters?

Blisters are most common on the feet and ankles, as these are the areas most subject to heat and pressure in most people.

Generally blisters may be caused by:

  • Friction – the most common cause in the feet.
  • Direct damage to the skin by corrosive substances or heat.
  • Some infectious diseases (for example, chickenpox).
  • Some inherited diseases (for example, pompholyx).

This leaflet focuses on foot blisters caused by friction. Areas of the foot will suffer repeated friction if you:

  • Have poorly fitting or rigid shoes which rub as you walk.
  • Wear high heels (which force pressure on to a small area of the foot, often the ball of the foot).
  • Have hot or moist feet (this results in the skin being more vulnerable).
  • Have wrinkles in your socks.
  • Wear shoes with no socks.
  • Have abnormalities of foot shape, affecting shoe fit.

Additionally blisters will be more likely to form on your feet if you:

  • Walk or run for a long time, particularly with any of the factors above.
  • Walk or run in uncomfortable shoes whilst carrying weight (for example, shopping or luggage).
  • Have a condition causing reduced sensation in your feet (for example, diabetes or peripheral neuropathy). If you can’t feel pain in your feet, you are more likely to carry on without realising when something is rubbing.

Should I pop a blister?

The general rule with blisters is do not pop or drain them. If you pop the blister, you have made a hole in the skin (which wasn’t there before). This not only removes the protective effect of the blister but opens the area up to infection. Popped blisters are often more painful too, as the nerves in the skin beneath are more exposed.

It is particularly important to try to keep the blister intact if any of the following apply to you, as you will be more prone to infection and worsening damage to your feet:

  • Diabetes.
  • Heart failure.
  • Peripheral arterial disease.
  • Swollen legs with venous ulcers.
  • Conditions reducing your immunity, such as HIV.
  • You are taking steroid tablets.

As with every rule, there are exceptions. You may need to pop a blister if it is large and getting in the way of your shoes. You may also judge that it’s better to pop it as it is so fluid-filled and tense it’s likely to pop anyway as soon as you put your shoes back on. A controlled de-pressurisation of the blister may then make a smaller hole in the skin than if your shoes rubbed the dome of the blister right off.

How do I treat a foot blister?

Most blisters will heal by themselves and the blister fluid will be gradually re-absorbed as the skin beneath heals. You can speed this up and decrease pain by home treatments:

  • Remove the cause – wear different shoes and spend time barefoot if you can.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Wear socks with your shoes.
  • If the blister is small – up to the size of a pea – a protective dressing will stop it breaking. The top layer of the blister then protects the skin beneath whilst it heals.
  • If the blister is on the underside of your foot it is helpful to make a protective blister dressing using a moleskin pad with a hole cut in the middle like a doughnut. This takes the pressure off the blister and prevents the top from rubbing off.
  • Commercial blister plasters can be very helpful and come in a number of sizes and shapes. Apply one of these according to the instructions. You should not remove it until it drops off, as it functions as a ‘second skin’ until the blister has healed. An added advantage of this method for those on walking trips is that they can then continue their journey without doing further damage.

If the blister is large and tense and will clearly burst if you don’t let the fluid out, you may decide to pop it (but with the cautions above).

In this case the principle of draining the blister is to make as small a hole as you can in as sterile a way as possible. Aim to preserve the top of the blister to act as protection for the skin beneath. You do this by:

  • Sterilising a needle or pin – for example, in a flame, by wiping it with an alcohol wipe or (if you have nothing else) by putting it in boiling salted water for ten minutes.
  • Gently puncturing the blister towards the edge.
  • Gently let or squeeze the fluid out – the dome will collapse and sit on the skin beneath.
  • Applying an antiseptic cream (such as Savlon®) if you have any, and a clean bandage.
  • Changing the bandage if it gets wet or dirty.
  • Avoiding getting the area wet for at least 24 hours. This will allow the skin from the top of the blister to have a chance to ‘fuse’ on to the skin beneath.

If you have a blister which has already burst:

  • Wash with soap and water.
  • Smooth the skin flap down if you can. Do this unless it’s very dirty or there is pus under it, in which case it won’t stick and may be better removed.
  • Apply antiseptic cream and a bandage.
  • Treat as above.

When your blister is healing keep an eye on it for signs of infection which might include:

  • Increasing pain.
  • Increasing or spreading redness.
  • Pus on or around the blister.
  • Swelling and heat.
  • A high temperature (fever).

What are the complications of foot blisters?

Most blisters heal naturally and quickly. Possible complications include:

  • Infection, which could spread. See the separate leaflet called Wound Infection.
  • Ulcer formation (particularly likely if sensation or circulation is poor, as in diabetes, peripheral arterial disease and neuropathy). See the separate leaflet called Diabetes, Foot Care and Foot Ulcers.

How do I prevent foot blisters?

Blisters can be prevented by reducing the friction that causes them. This can be helped by:

  • Wearing comfortable, well-fitting shoes and clean socks.
  • ‘Breaking in’ new shoes – including running or walking shoes – gradually.
  • Sensible shoe choice. Shoes such as high heels and dress shoes are more likely to lead to blistering, so wear these for shorter periods.
  • Stop your activity as soon as possible if you feel a pressure point rubbing, and remove/change your shoes.
  • Wearing socks that manage moisture, or changing socks frequently which helps prevent moisture build-up if you tend to get sweaty feet. Sports socks can help keep feet drier.
  • Ensuring that shoes or hiking boots have been properly broken in before a long walk.
  • Taping a protective layer of padding between the affected area and the footwear if shoes are rubbing when you are out and about and you can’t take them off. This can prevent the formation of a blister. A friction-management patch applied to the shoe will remain in place much longer. This can be helpful with speciality shoes and boots like ice skates and inline skates, and with orthotic braces and splints.
  • Putting a lubricant like talcum powder inside the shoes may also reduce friction in the short term. However, because the talc absorbs moisture, it can make things worse in the long term.

Proper Care for Foot Blisters

Regular foot checks will help minimize your risk of foot ulcers.

While foot blisters are simply a nuisance for some, they can lead to serious complications for people with diabetes. Due to decreased circulation and feeling in many diabetic patient’s extremities, it’s possible for a blister to become a diabetic ulcer. With the proper treatment, your chances of developing an ulcer can be minimized.

What causes blisters?

Simply put, friction causes blisters, but not necessarily by the shoe rubbing on the outside layer of skin. The skin on your foot moving relative to the underlying bone is called shear. When shear happens excessively in one place, the tissue tears and fluid fills the injury site.

So, you got a blister

Clean it thoroughly with warm water and soap, and sanitize it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Do this at night when you’ll be off your feet to allow for proper air circulation. Put antibiotic ointment on the area and cover it with a bandage or dressing, especially if you’re putting shoes back on. If you aren’t putting shoes back on, take the pressure off of your feet. This will prevent your feet from swelling. Wait as long as you can to put shoes back on, reducing the friction on the blister, ensuring that the roof doesn’t tear off of it.

Many people wonder if they should pop a blister. While it isn’t necessary, it’s usually safe to pop a small, clear blister. This can be done with a sterilized needle or pin. Do not pop it if your blister is large. This will cause a large opening in the skin, potentially allowing bacteria to enter the wound. It could become a diabetic foot ulcer it it’s not handled properly. If it’s large enough that it’s hard to walk, you should see a doctor. As with all wounds, severe redness and pus are signs of an infection.

Any type of shoe can cause a blister because no two feet fit a shoe exactly the same. Your best bet is to pay attention to frequent problem areas of your feet and plan accordingly when it comes to your footwear and take proper precautions to avoid foot complications. Even if you’re on the way to breaking in a pair of shoes, don’t continue wearing shoes that give you blisters. When investing in a new pair of shoes, be sure that they fit properly in the store.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.

Diabetes: Foot & Skin Related Complications

How can diabetes affect feet and skin?

For people with diabetes, having too much glucose (sugar) in their blood for a long time can cause some serious complications, including foot and skin problems, as well as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye damage, and other problems.

How can diabetes affect my feet?

Diabetes can cause two problems that can affect your feet:

  • Diabetic neuropathy — Uncontrolled diabetes can damage your nerves. If you have damaged nerves in your legs and feet, you might not feel heat, cold or pain. This lack of feeling is called diabetic neuropathy. If you do not feel a cut or sore on your foot because of neuropathy, the cut could get worse and become infected.
  • Peripheral vascular disease — Diabetes also affects the flow of blood. Without good blood flow, it takes longer for a sore or cut to heal. Poor blood flow in the arms and legs is called peripheral vascular disease. (The word “peripheral” means “located away from a central point,” and the word “vascular” refers to the blood vessels. Peripheral vascular disease is a circulation disorder that affects blood vessels away from the heart.)

If you have an infection that will not heal because of poor blood flow, you are at risk for developing gangrene, which is the death of tissue due to a lack of blood. To keep gangrene from spreading, the doctor may have to remove a toe, foot, or part of a leg. This procedure is called amputation. Diabetes is the most common, non-traumatic cause of leg amputations. Each year, more than 56,000 people with diabetes have amputations. However, research suggests that more than half of these amputations can be prevented through proper foot care.

What are some common foot problems of people with diabetes?

Anyone can get the foot problems listed below. For people with diabetes, however, these common foot problems can possibly lead to infection and serious complications that could make amputation necessary.

Athlete’s foot — Athlete’s foot is a fungus that causes itching, redness, and cracking. Germs can enter through the cracks in your skin and cause an infection. Medicines that kill the fungus are used to treat athlete’s foot. These medicines may be pills and/or creams applied directly to the problem area. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a medication for athlete’s foot.

Fungal infection of nails — Nails that are infected with a fungus may become discolored (yellowish-brown or opaque), thick and brittle, and may separate from the bed of the nail. In some cases, the nail may crumble. The dark, moist and warm environment of shoes can promote fungal growth. In addition, an injury to the nail can put you at risk for a fungal infection. Fungal nail infections are difficult to treat. Topical medications are available, but they only help a small number of fungal nail problems. Oral medications may be prescribed by your health care provider. Treatment also may include periodic removal of the damaged nail tissue.

Calluses — A callus is a build-up of hard skin, usually on the underside of the foot. Calluses are caused by an uneven distribution of weight, generally on the bottom of the forefoot or heel. Calluses also can be caused by improperly fitting shoes or by a skin abnormality. Keep in mind that some degree of callus formation on the sole of the foot is normal. Proper care is necessary if you have a callus. After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone to gently remove the build-up of tissue. Use cushioned pads and insoles. Medications also may be prescribed to soften calluses. DO NOT try to cut the callus or remove it with a sharp object.

Corns — A corn is a build-up of hard skin near a bony area of a toe or between toes. Corns may be the result of pressure from shoes that rub against the toes or cause friction between the toes. Proper care is necessary if you have a corn. After your bath or shower, use a pumice stone to gently remove the build-up of tissue. Do not use over-the-counter remedies to dissolve corns. DO NOT try to cut the corn or remove it with a sharp object.

Blisters — Blisters can form when your shoes keep rubbing the same spot on your foot. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly or wearing shoes without socks can cause blisters, which can become infected. When treating blisters, it’s important not to “pop” them. The skin covering the blister helps protect it from infection. You also may use an antibacterial cream and clean, soft bandages to help protect the skin and prevent infection.

Bunion — A bunion forms when your big toe angles in toward the second toe. Often, the spot where your big toe joins the rest of the foot becomes red and callused. This area also may begin to stick out and become hard. Bunions can form on one or both feet. Bunions may run in the family, but most often they are caused by wearing high-heeled shoes with narrow toes. These shoes put pressure on the big toe, pushing it toward the second toe. The use of felt or foam padding on the foot may help protect the bunion from irritation. A device also may be used to separate the big and second toes. If the bunion causes severe pain and/or deformity, surgery to realign the toes may be necessary.

Dry skin — Dry skin can result if the nerves in your legs and feet do not get the message from your brain (because of diabetic neuropathy) to sweat, which keeps your skin soft and moist. Dry skin can crack, which can allow germs to enter. Use moisturizing soaps and lotions to help keep your skin moist and soft.

Foot ulcers — A foot ulcer is a break in the skin or a deep sore, which can become infected. Foot ulcers can result from minor scrapes, cuts that heal slowly or from the rubbing of shoes that do not fit well. Early intervention is important in treating foot ulcers. Ask your health care provider for advice on how to best care for your wound.

Hammertoes — A hammertoe is a toe that is bent because of a weakened muscle. The weakened muscle makes the tendons (tissues that connect muscles to bone) shorter, causing the toes to curl under the feet. Hammertoes can run in families. They also may be caused by wearing shoes that do not fit properly (are too short). Hammertoes can cause problems with walking and can lead to other foot problems, such as blisters, calluses, and sores. Splinting and corrective footwear can help in treating hammertoes. In severe cases, surgery to straighten the toe may be necessary.

Ingrown toenails — Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow into the skin. Ingrown nails cause pressure and pain along the nail edges. The edge of the nail may cut into the skin, causing redness, swelling, pain, drainage, and infection. The most common cause of ingrown toenails is pressure from shoes. Other causes of ingrown toenails include improperly trimmed nails, crowding of the toes, and repeated trauma to the feet from activities such as running, walking, or doing aerobics. Keeping your toenails properly trimmed is the best way to prevent ingrown toenails. If you have a persistent problem or if you have a nail infection, you may need a health care provider’s care. Severe problems with ingrown nails may be corrected with surgery to remove part of the toenail and growth plate.

Plantar warts — Plantar warts look like calluses on the ball of the foot or on the heel. They may appear to have small pinholes or tiny black spots in the center. They are usually painful and may develop singly or in clusters. Plantar warts are caused by a virus that infects the outer layer of skin on the soles of the feet. DO NOT use over-the-counter medications to dissolve the wart. If you are not sure if you have a plantar wart or a callus, let your health care provider decide.

How can diabetes affect my skin?

If your blood glucose is high, your body loses fluid, causing your skin to become dry. This occurs because the body is turning the water into urine to remove excess glucose from the blood. Your skin also can get dry if the nerves, especially those in your legs and feet, do not get the message to sweat (because of diabetic neuropathy). Sweating helps keep your skin soft and moist.

Dry skin can become red and sore, and can crack and peel. Germs can enter through the cracks in your skin and cause an infection. In addition, dry skin usually is itchy, and scratching can lead to breaks in the skin and infection.

Skin problems are common in people with diabetes. Blood glucose provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, and can reduce the body’s ability to heal itself. These factors put people with diabetes at greater risk for skin problems. In fact, as many as a third of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder related to their disease at some time in their lives. Fortunately, most skin conditions can be prevented and successfully treated if caught early. But if not cared for properly, a minor skin condition can turn into a serious problem with potentially severe consequences.

What are some common skin problems in people with diabetes?

Some of the problems listed below—such as bacterial infections, fungal infections and itching—are skin conditions that can affect anyone. However, people with diabetes are more prone to getting these conditions, which can lead to serious complications. Some of the conditions listed—such as diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum and eruptive xanthomatosis—occur only in people with diabetes. (Remember, people with diabetes also can develop skin conditions that affect people who do not have diabetes.)

Some common skin conditions include:

Acanthosis nigricans — This is a condition that results in the darkening and thickening of the skin. Often, areas of tan or brown skin, sometimes slightly raised, appear on the sides of the neck, the armpits, and groin. Occasionally, these darkened areas may appear on the hands, elbows, and knees. Acanthosis nigricans usually strikes people who are very overweight. There is no cure for acanthosis nigricans, but losing weight may improve the condition. Acanthosis nigricans usually precedes diabetes.

Allergic reactions — Allergic reactions to foods, bug bites, and medicines can cause rashes, depressions, or bumps on the skin. If you think you may be having an allergic reaction to a medicine, contact your healthcare provider. Severe allergic reactions may require emergency treatment. It is especially important for people with diabetes to check for rashes or bumps in the areas where they inject their insulin.

Atherosclerosis — Atherosclerosis is the narrowing of blood vessels from a thickening of the vessel walls. While atherosclerosis most often is associated with blood vessels in or near the heart, it can affect blood vessels throughout the body, including those that supply the skin. When the blood vessels supplying the skin become narrow, changes occur due to a lack of oxygen. Loss of hair, thinning and shiny skin, thickened and discolored toenails, and cold skin are symptoms of atherosclerosis. Because blood carries the white blood cells that help fight infection, legs and feet affected by atherosclerosis heal slowly when they are injured.

Bacterial infections — There are different kinds of bacterial infections affecting the skin. These include styes, which are infections of the glands of the eyelids; boils, which are infections of the hair follicles; and carbuncles, which are deep infections of the skin and the underlying tissue. There also are bacterial infections that affect the nails. With a bacterial infection, the areas involved generally are hot, swollen, red, and painful. Most bacterial infections require treatment with antibiotics in the form of pills and/or creams.

Bullosis diabeticorum (diabetic blisters) — In rare cases, people with diabetes develop blisters that resemble burn blisters. These blisters—called bullosis diabeticorum—can occur on the fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs, or forearms. Diabetic blisters usually are painless and heal on their own. They often occur in people who have diabetic neuropathy. Bringing your blood glucose level under control is the treatment for this condition.

Diabetic dermopathy — Diabetes can affect the small blood vessels of the body that supply the skin with blood. Changes to the blood vessels because of diabetes can cause a skin condition called diabetic dermopathy. Dermopathy appears as scaly patches that are light brown or red, often on the front of the legs. The patches do not hurt, blister or itch, and treatment generally is not necessary. The patches are sometimes called skin spots.

Digital sclerosis — The word “digital” refers to your fingers and toes, and “sclerosis” means hardening. Digital sclerosis, therefore, is a condition in which the skin on your toes, fingers and hands become thick, waxy and tight. Stiffness of the finger joints also may occur. The treatment is to bring your blood glucose level under control. Lotions and moisturizers may help soften the skin.

Disseminated granuloma annulare — This condition causes sharply defined, ring- or arc-shaped areas on the skin. These rashes most often occur on the fingers and ears, but they can occur on the trunk. The rash can be red, red-brown or skin colored. Treatment usually is not required, but some cases may benefit from a topical steroid medication, such as hydrocortisone.

Eruptive xanthomatosis — Eruptive xanthomatosis can occur in some individuals when blood glucose levels are not well controlled and when triglycerides in the blood rise to extremely high levels. This condition appears as firm, yellow, pea-like bumps on the skin. The bumps—which are surrounded by red halos and are itchy—usually are found on the feet, arms, legs, buttocks and backs of the hands. Treatment for eruptive xanthomatosis consists of controlling your blood glucose level. Lipid-lowering drugs also may be needed.

Fungal infections — A yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans is responsible for many of the fungal infections affecting people with diabetes. This fungus creates itchy red rashes, often surrounded by tiny blisters and scales. These infections most often occur in warm, moist folds of the skin. Three common fungal infections are jock itch, which appears as a red, itchy area on the genitals and the inside of the thighs; athlete’s foot, which affects the skin between the toes; and ringworm, which causes ring-shaped, scaly patches that can itch or blister. Ringworm can appear on the feet, groin, trunk, scalp, or nails. Medicines that kill the fungus may be needed to treat these infections.

Itching — Itching skin, also called pruritus, can have many causes, such as a yeast infection, dry skin or poor blood flow. When itching is caused by poor blood flow, the lower legs and feet are most often affected. Using lotion can help to keep your skin soft and moist, and prevent itching due to dry skin.

Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum — Necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD) is caused by changes in the blood vessels and generally affects the lower legs. With NLD, the affected skin becomes raised, yellow and waxy in appearance, often with a purple border. Sometimes, NLD is itchy and painful. As long as the sores do not break open, treatment is not necessary. If the sores do break open, see your health care provider for treatment.

Scleroderma diabeticorum — Like digital sclerosis, this condition causes a thickening of the skin; but scleroderma diabeticorum affects the skin on the back of the neck and upper back. This condition, which is rare, most often affects people with diabetes who are overweight. The treatment is to bring your blood glucose level under control. Lotions and moisturizers may help soften the skin.

Vitiligo — Vitiligo is a condition that affects skin coloration. With vitiligo, the special cells that make pigment (the substance that controls skin color) are destroyed, resulting in patches of discolored skin. Vitiligo often affects the trunk, but may be found on the face around the mouth, nostrils and eyes. This condition usually occurs in people with type 1 diabetes. There is no specific treatment for vitiligo. You should use sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher to prevent sunburn on the discolored skin.

Assessing skin turgor (fullness) is a way for health care workers to assess the amount of fluid loss that may occur from various conditions, such as diarrhea or vomiting. Loss of body fluid through frequent urination also is a concern for people with diabetes. Skin turgor refers to the skin’s elasticity (its ability to change shape and return to normal). An assessment of skin turgor is used to help determine the effects of diabetes on skin health.

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Foot Ulcers & Blisters: What’s the difference?

Blisters

The definition of a blister is a small pocket of clear fluid, either serum or plasma within the upper layers of the skin. They can appear after burning or freezing your skin. They can also be the result of skin frictions or exposure to chemicals. The main types of blisters are friction blisters, blood blisters, and heat blisters.

People with diabetes can develop blisters similar to burn blisters. The exact cause of diabetic blister is unknown. It may be the result of wearing the wrong size of shoes or high blood level. The most common reason is fungal infections. These blisters can occur on the fingers, hands, toes, feet, legs, or forearms. Diabetic blisters usually are painless and heal on their own.

Foot ulcers

A foot ulcer can be a depthless red hole on the surface of the skin but can also be very deep. A deep foot ulcer may be a crater that extends through the full layer of the skin. It may involve tendons, bones and other deep structures.

What are the risks?

If the blister breaks, germs can get into your foot. These germs can cause not only infection on the skin, but also in the bone. Bone infections are complicated to treat. If they worsen, they can end up with an amputation.

People with diabetes and people with poor circulation are more likely to develop foot ulcers. Healing a foot ulcer can be difficult. Even a small foot ulcer can become infected if it does not recover quickly. In case an infection occurs in an ulcer, you should treat it right away. Otherwise, you risk to develop:

  • An abscess (a pocket of pus)
  • A spreading infection of the skin and underlying fat (cellulitis)
  • A bone infection (osteomyelitis)
  • Gangrene. Gangrene is an area of dead, darkened body tissue caused by reduced blood flow.

How to prevent Ulcers and Blisters?

The way to prevent foot ulcers and blisters is the same. Here a few things you can do to avoid it:

  • Wash your feet carefully in gentle soap and water and dry them thoroughly. Then put a small amount of antibiotic ointment on a dressing and cover the wound.
  • If you have even a small reason to be concerned, call someone on your medical team. You’ll probably get a foot exam and possibly an antibiotic to prevent infection.
  • More Iron – blood circulation favorize healing
  • Last, stop wearing the shoes that caused the blister. A comfortable pair of shoes is one of the best investments you can make. Also, remember, they must correctly fit your feet at the store. This kind of careful attention can prevent future problems.

What Are Diabetic Blisters

Sep

Posted by Chris – The Organic Diabetic

As a type 1 diabetic for the past 9 years, I’m always trying to stay on top of the latest news and trends when it comes to diabetes complications. Did you know that every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone loses a lower limb as a result of diabetes. That’s because diabetes and wounds are a dangerous combination.

If you have diabetes, there’s no such thing as a minor wound to the foot — even small blisters or foot sores can turn into an ulcer that, if not properly treated, can lead to amputation. The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for those who don’t have the disease.

There is no single known cause for diabetic blisters. Many of those who have diabetic blisters may also tend to suffer from neuropathy and nephropathy. Some researchers think that a decreased ability to sustain an injury may play a role. Also in people with heart failure, the swelling that can result from that condition may be enough to cause the blisters. Many people who develop the diabetic blisters have had diabetes for many years or have several complications from the disease.

What Is A Diabetic Blister:

Symptoms of diabetic blisters include intense itching and burning sensation of the skin. When the mucous membranes of the mouth are affected, it can cause pain, burning, peeling away of affected inner lining tissues, and sensitivity to acidic foods. Eating can be difficult, and involvement in the deeper areas of the throat can cause coughing. Involvement of the inner nose can cause nosebleeds. The disease typically worsens (exacerbates) and improves (remits) over time.

Treatment For Blisters:

In many cases, the blisters heal by themselves, within two to four weeks, and no treatment is needed other than keeping them clean.

On occasion, though, the blisters may burst. If this happens, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or something to help dry the blister. If the blister becomes infected or develops an ulcer, it will be treated more like a wound. Antibiotics may be used. In very severe cases, skin may need to be removed to help the healing process.

Continuous, regular medical care is necessary for patients who develop diabetic blisters. Friction blisters and diabetic blisters do not generally require medications for treatment, unless a secondary infection develops. With fungal infections that cause blisters, however, an anti-fungal medication is necessary to get rid of the fungus. For people who suffer from nerve damage, proper diabetic foot care can prevent foot blisters.

Foot Care, Protect You Feet:

Research has shown that people with diabetes who take good care of their feet and protect their feet from injury, are much less likely to develop foot blisters.

Good foot care includes:

  • Looking carefully at your feet each day, including between the toes. If you cannot do
    this yourself, you should get someone else to do it for you:Looking is particularly important if you have reduced sensation in your feet, as you may not notice anything wrong at first until you look.
  • If you see anything new (such as a cut, bruise, blister, redness or bleeding) and don’t know what to do, see your doctor or podiatrist (chiropodist).
  • Do not try to deal with corns, calluses, verrucas or other foot problems by yourself. They should be treated by a health professional such as a podiatrist. In particular, do not use chemicals or acid plasters to remove corns, etc.
  • Use a moisturizing oil or cream for dry skin to prevent cracking. However, you should not apply it between the toes as this can cause the skin to become too moist which can lead to an infection developing.
  • Look out for athlete’s foot (a common minor skin infection). It causes flaky skin and cracks between the toes, which can be sore and can become infected. If you get athlete’s foot, it should be treated with an anti-fungal cream.

So make sure you take care of those feet, keep them dry and make sure you check them daily!

If this article on blisters was helpful, please leave a comment below or hit the share button to share with your family and friends 😀

Thanks for Reading!

Chris

Tags: blisters, burning, diabetes, dry skin, foot care, itching, neuropathy, treatment, type 1, ulcer, wound

Category: Diabetes Info, Health

Diabetic foot ulcers can begin in a mundane way. Maybe it’s a new pair of shoes or an extra long walk. Next thing you know, you have a small callus or blister on your foot.

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The problem arises when you lose feeling in your feet. If you keep walking instead of stopping or changing shoes, a small sore may turn into a more serious wound. Up to 10 percent of people with diabetes will end up with a foot ulcer, podiatrist William Scott, DPM, says.

“Patients come to see me and they say, ‘One day, I just took off my sock, and I saw blood. I have no idea why or how it happened,’” he says.

These ulcers cause the skin to wear away, most commonly because of damaged nerves in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), resulting from diabetes. Although ulcers are sometimes dangerous and can lead to amputation, the key is prevention, Dr. Scott says.

How can you prevent foot ulcers?

Here are some tips to preventing foot ulcers:

  • Watch your blood sugar. The best way to prevent diabetic foot ulcers is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Uncontrolled glucose is often behind neuropathy, which causes loss of feeling in the feet and may allow a sore to go unnoticed. Maintaining normal glucose levels will also help any sores on the foot heal faster. This can help keep ulcers from developing.
  • Pay attention to your feet. Dr. Scott says it’s important to conduct daily foot inspections if you have diabetes. Catching a sore early can go a long way in preventing major problems. Can’t see the bottoms of your feet? Try this: Put a mirror on the floor and hold each foot over it. Or ask a family member to check all areas of your feet regularly.

How can you treat foot ulcers?

Typical wound care for a foot ulcer is debridement (a doctor removes unhealthy tissue from the wound). Taking this tissue off sparks the body’s natural healing mechanism, Dr. Scott says.

Your doctor will then apply a dressing to the wound, which you’ll need to change regularly.

You’ll also have to “offload” the affected part of the foot, he says. Continued pressure on the sore will only worsen it. So you’ll likely wear a cast, surgical shoe or boot that keeps weight off the injured site while the wound heals.

If the ulcer hasn’t healed in four weeks or you have a bone infection, your doctor may recommend more advanced therapies.

These may include:

  • Living cellular skin substitute
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room) to promote healing

What makes foot ulcers so serious?

The soft tissue of the foot isn’t like that on other parts of the body, so an infection can get to the muscle and bone very quickly. Infection and poor blood flow can lead to more serious complications, Dr. Scott says.

That infection is what ultimately can lead to amputation. For this reason, you need to see your doctor quickly if you suspect you have a foot ulcer.

Your doctor may order an X-ray, and possibly an MRI, if you have an ulcer that is worsening. This will show whether there is any infection in the bone.

If you do get a foot ulcer, you need to keep your sugars under control and follow up regularly with your doctor.

It’s important not to ever let a wound linger without treatment. As time passes, the chances of it healing decrease. Be sure to see your doctor right away. If you don’t have a podiatrist, you’ll need to get one to help you keep tabs on your foot health, Dr. Scott says.

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