You don’t need to be a seasoned runner or tramper to know the discomfort of a blister. You’ll likely also be familiar with the age-old conundrum of popping one or not. While blisters can be annoying, it’s often not a good idea to drain them. However, if a blister is extremely painful, you’ll need to know how to drain it safely. Find out more about what blisters are and when it is and is not recommended to drain them.
What Is a Blister?
A blister is a fluid-filled bubble that forms between the bottom layers of your skin and the layers above them. Generally, the bubble is filled with blood or clear liquid. Blisters most commonly come from having your skin pinched, sustained rubbing of your skin, burns caused by the sun or friction, and excess moisture. Additionally, runners, hunters, and hikers can experience blisters due to their shoes and socks rubbing against their skin while exercising.
Should You Pop a Blister on Your Feet or Ankles?
Since a blister can be itchy and painful, you might be tempted to pop it, especially if it is in a location that interferes with activity. While you might gain some temporary relief from the pop, it could become infected if you don’t drain it properly.
Popping a small blister isn’t recommended due to the potential for infection. Instead, cover it up with a bandage and use padding while it heals itself. Generally, blisters tend to heal in a few days. Taking a little time off from activity can usually clear the issue up, giving relief without risking infection.
If your blister is more impressive in size and particularly painful, the American Academy of Dermatology Associations says you can drain the blister as long as you do it safely. To properly drain a blister, you’ll first need to sterilise a small needle with rubbing alcohol. Next, pierce an edge of the blister with the sterilised needle to allow the blister to drain.
While you drain the blister, make sure you don’t remove the blister’s roof. Since this layer of skin helps protect the raw skin underneath, you’ll want to avoid peeling it off. After you’ve drained the blister, wash the blister site with soap and water to protect it against infection. Finally, cover it with a bandage or plaster.
How to Prevent Blisters While Exercising
If you’d rather not have to decide whether you should drain a blister or leave it be, the best strategy is to prevent them from forming in the first place. Avid runners and hikers can stop blisters in their tracks by following a few best practices:
- Invest in cushioned insoles: Cushioned insoles are a proven way to reduce blisters. Studies found they reduced the risk of blisters forming by 25%. Since insoles add extra cushioning, they can absorb excess friction and make a run or hike more comfortable.
- Find shoes that fit you: When you wear shoes or boots that are too small, they can pinch your feet and create extra friction. Both of these factors can result in blisters, so it’s best to find shoes that leave a little bit of room. Since feet tend to swell on a run, a running shoe should be slightly bigger (usually, around half a size higher) than your everyday shoes.
- Wear anti-blister socks: A great pair of anti-blister socks can do wonders for your feet and stop blisters from forming. Since anti-blister socks are designed to wick away moisture, absorb friction, and stop your feet from overheating, they prevent blisters. By wearing these socks while you engage in repetitive exercises, such as tramping, running, or cycling, you’ll reduce the stress on your feet and stay protected.
Choose Wrightsock for Anti-Blister Socks
At Wrightsock, we aim to make blisters a distant memory for those with an active lifestyle with blister-free socks. Due to our socks’ double-layer design, they stop the main causes of blisters in their tracks. From running and hiking to cycling and hunting, we have blister-free socks perfect for your favorite activity.