A blister is a fluid-filled bump in the upper layer of the skin (epidermis) that develops when the epidermis has been damaged. The fluid that accumulates in the bubble-like bump is the part of the blood that remains after red blood cells have been removed. This fluid cushions the cells underneath, protecting them from further damage and allowing them to heal.
Numerous Factors That Can Lead To The Formation Of Blisters:
- Burns from exposure to heat and cold injuries from being exposed to frostbite can blister the skin.
- Friction from shoes and clothing which rubs repeatedly on the skin can also cause a blister.
- Friction-related blisters are common on the feet as skin is susceptible to tissue damage while walking, jogging, running, or performing repetitive movements.
- Infections such as shingles, impetigo, bullous pemphigoid, folliculitis, scabies, chickenpox and cold sores can cause either a single blister or clusters of blisters on the upper layer of the skin. Skin disease such as dermatitis herpetiformis may cause large, tightly-filled blisters on the elbows, back, buttocks and knees. The blisters in this condition usually develop in patches of the same size on both sides of the body. Chronic bullous dermatitis is a skin disease that causes clusters of blisters on mouth, face and genitals.
- Pinching or squeezing applies pressure to the skin, causing the minute blood vessels close to the surface of the skin to rupture. Consequently, the blood leaks into a tear between the layers of skin, causing a blood-filled blister.
- Contact with certain plants such as oak and poison ivy may lead to inflammation, which in turn forms a blister. Blisters can also develop as a result of an allergic reaction to a detergent or cosmetic. Burns from exposure to chemicals, radiation from the sun, and spider bites may also cause a blister.
If left untreated, blisters may lead to more serious complications such as infection and foot ulceration, particularly when a patient is also suffering from a medical condition that is known to impair blood circulation such as peripheral artery disease or diabetes.
If you have blisters because of any aforementioned reasons or blisters that develop in unusual places or blisters that keep coming back, you should immediately contact your physician. Don’t try to burst a blister as it can slow down the healing process and lead to an infection. Blisters that are filled with puss should be cleaned thoroughly before lancing them with a sterile implement. If your blister is very large and painful, an expert at a physiotherapy clinic will decompress the blister with a surgical blade under sterile conditions. He or she will drain the fluid leaving as much of the skin as possible to cover the wound. As in case of a blood blister, the skin underneath the blister would be raw due to the deeper damage, an expert will treat it with a disinfected pin with a puncture or two to drain the blood.
Call Happy Physio today on (08) 9272 7359 for expert physiotherapy help on taking care of blisters.