What are the causes of blisters on the feet?

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Blisters are described as small-sized, fluid-filled bubbles that manifest right beneath the skin. It is important to note that blisters are the usual cause of foot pain, especially among runners and other athletes. Blisters typically manifest on the base of the foot but can even develop along the top or on the sides. It can be caused by an injury to the skin or certain disease that causes the upper skin layer to separate from the dermis while the space in between the skin layer is filled with fluid as a protective measure.

Athlete’s foot infection

When it comes to athlete’s foot infection or tinea pedis, it can lead to the development of small-sized blisters on the bottom of the foot. This type of infection develops once a specific type of fungus starts to propagate on the skin.

These fungi flourish well in warm and moist areas such as the feet. The skin can form small-sized blisters that are itchy initially and eventually crack open, resulting to a crusted rash. Athlete’s foot can be managed with several over-the-counter antifungal medications.

Blisters typically manifest on the base of the foot but can even develop along the top or on the sides.

Friction and burns

In most circumstances, a blister develops as a result of friction and pressure, possibly from the shoes being used that are too tight or constant rubbing. A blister usually contains clear fluid, but if there is injury, it might contain blood.

A burn can also cause blister formation. In case the blister is due to a burn and becomes infected, it might contain pus. The treatment typically includes keeping the blister clean and even releasing the fluid to reduce the pain.

Dyshidrotic eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema is described as a skin issue that causes small-sized blisters to develop on the base of the feet and palms of the hands. This condition is quite common among women than men. Blisters that become severely itchy can persist for approximately 3 weeks and quite common in certain months, particularly among those who are at risk for seasonal allergies. The blisters can crack while healing and leave behind areas of skin that are scaly and dry. The treatment usually involves the use of oral antihistamines and steroid creams.

Contact dermatitis and poison ivy

Contact dermatitis is a condition that can lead to the development of small blisters on the bottom of the feet as a response to an allergic reaction. The dyes and chemicals utilized in socks and shoes as well as fragrances utilized in soaps and detergents and even oral and topical medications can cause blister formation. The blisters can also develop as a reaction to poison ivy exposure if the base of the foot was exposed. The treatment for this skin condition typically includes oral or topical antihistamines as well as calamine lotion.

Other possible causes

There are certain conditions that can lead to the development of blisters on the soles of the feet. A good example is hand, foot and mouth disease which is viral in nature and seen in some children. Aside from blisters on the base of the feet, they are also seen on the hands and sores in the mouth.

Epidermolysis bullosa is considered as an inherited disorder that is characterized by the formation of blisters that can be triggered by the slightest amount of friction, especially on the soles of the feet. In some individuals especially those who diabetes, they have bullosis diabeticorum which is an uncommon skin issue in which blisters manifest on the base of the feet, legs and hands.


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