How to Treat a Blood Blister
Everyone gets blood blisters at some point in time. There are many do’s and don’ts for blood blisters, as they can cause discomfort and infection if not treated properly. Most blood blisters are not serious and normally go away on their own or can be treated at home, but it is best to know what you are doing to prevent further damage.
There are many recommended treatments and home remedies to treat a blood blister and make it more comfortable until it goes away, but remember, if you are unsure it is always best to contact a doctor. Most would recommend leaving the blood blister alone and letting it heal on its own because an open blood blister is more at risk for infection, but sometimes this is not possible or the blister has become too painful to bear. As soon as the damage has happened, you need to remove the cause of the friction and pressure and apply ice to the area as this will not only help with the pain and swelling but will also help to reduce the bleeding to the area.
If you are going to leave it alone and let it heal on its own, you will want to keep it clean and protected as it heals by wrapping it in a protective bandage or use a moleskin donut or blister bandage with a hole cut in it which will help remove pressure and friction. If at all possible, it is best to keep the blister clean and exposed to the air as this will help it to dry out faster and will probably be more comfortable. If the blood blister is extremely large or painful, you may want to contact a doctor because the blister may need to be drained.
If the blister has burst or tore on its own, you will need to carefully drain the blister by gently adding pressure to get rid of the fluid. Then you will need to clean the area and apply an antiseptic to the blister. Do not remove the skin if it is still intact because the flap of skin over a blister helps to keep out infection. You should then dress the blood blister with clean bandages and watch for signs of infection.
There are also natural home remedies you can try to help the blister heal faster. Witch hazel is very soothing and has natural astringent properties that will help with inflammation, reduce pain, and help dry out the blister. Cucumbers contain many nutrients good for the skin like silica which helps strengthen connective tissues and will help with inflammation and pain as well. Aloe vera will also help with inflammation and has cooling properties that will help with pain, antiviral, antibacterial, and analgesic properties to help fight infection. Sandalwood has astringent, antispasmodic, emollient, and disinfectant properties as well as its cooling property which helps with inflammation and pain.
Turmeric is widely used for blisters and has an antiseptic nature which will fight against infections as well as reducing inflammation. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that will help fight infection as well as drying out the blister. Garlic oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that will help the skin heal faster. Epsom salt is widely used and will help fight infection and reduce inflammation. Chamomile tea is very soothing to the skin and also has astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties to help the skin heal faster. Although all of these remedies are great, remember to contact a doctor if you are unsure or there are signs of infection.
Safely draining and popping your blood blister
Although most blood blisters will heal and go away on their own and some may not recommend popping your blood blister, there may be certain situations that you will need to pop it. Sometimes, the blood in the blister will keep accumulating causing more pressure and more pain. This extra accumulation of blood can also cause the blister to burst or tear which could cause more pain. There is more risk of infection if the blood blister is opened, no matter how it is opened, but sometimes relieving the pressure is necessary.
Before you go squeezing and poking the blood blister, there are a few things you should do. First and foremost, you need to be in a clean environment with clean equipment, including your hands. After you wash your hands and the affected area, you will lance or cut the blister with a scalpel or needle. When opening the blister, do not make too large of a hole and be sure the leave the skin over the blister as this will help prevent infection. Make sure everything you use is sterilized. The blood should start draining on its own and you can gently add pressure to help remove the excess if needed. Then apply antiseptic and dressing and try to keep any more friction or pressure off the blood blister. Be sure to keep an eye out for signs of infection.
When blood vessels under the skin get damaged they cause a red fluid filled bump that can be quite painful, known as blood blisters. The main cause of blood blisters is skin trauma such as forceful pinching, high friction from walking, hiking, running, or dancing, improper sized shoes, burning or scalding, severe sunburns, skin reactions to chemicals or other irritants, viral skin infections like warts or herpes, and fungal skin infections between toes and on soles of feet. Blood blisters are more prone to happen on bony parts of the body, but can happen on soft parts as well. There are also biomechanical causes of blood blisters. The big toe knuckles have an important function called the windlass mechanism. When the windlass mechanism is not functioning properly, it will cause blood blisters.
Color and size
Blood blisters vary in color and size. Initially, a blood blister will start out as a reddish color. As time goes by and the blood dries and coagulates, the blood blister will turn purple or black. Blood blisters vary in size depending on the area they are in and what caused them. If you have pinched a large area, chances are the whole area will be a blood blister. If you have a shoe that is rubbing the back of your heal, then the blood blister will only be as big as the spot that was rubbed.
How long do blood blisters last
When a blood blister occurs, the blood in the blister stains the cells that it has come in contact with. For the blister itself, it may go away within a week or two depending on how bad it is. As for the discoloration, that could take a month or more to go away because of the cell turnover. Cell turnover is basically when your dead skin cells shed, so all of the stained skin cells will need to shed for the blood blister to completely go away. Of course, if you do not get rid of the cause of the blood blister, it will take that much longer to go away. So, the length of your blood blister will depend on how big it was, how much blood there was in it, and how much of the blood was resorbed. The blood will dry and slowly flake away as time goes on.
Most blood blisters can be prevented. To prevent blood blisters on your feet, make sure you have well-fitting socks and shoes. Foot size varies as much as half a shoe size throughout the day, so be sure your footwear fits comfortably when your feet are most swollen. To protect hands and keep from getting blood blisters, wear protective gloves when heavy chores or yard work. Also, try to avoid any plants or chemicals that may cause a blistery type of rash. And be sure to avoid others who have infections or illnesses that may cause any type of blisters. You should also avoid trying to pop regular blisters as this could cause more trauma under the skin and turn it into a blood blister.
Even though blood blisters are usually harmless, they do have symptoms and some may be a reason to contact a doctor. Sometimes you may have signs of infection such as fever or red lines streaking out from the blister. The blister may also be crusty with honey-colored liquid coming out of it. Usually, the blood blister will just be sore, fluid filled, red, and puffy. As time goes by and the blister starts to decrease in size, it will probably feel more like a bruise.
When to see a doctor
Although a blood blister is usually no cause for alarm and will usually go away on its own, there are things to look out for and certain times when a doctor should be involved. Contact a doctor if you notice signs of infection like redness or warmth around the area or red lines streaking away from the blood blister, if the blister makes it hard for you to use parts of your body, if the blister appeared for no reason, if you have multiple blisters and no cause, if the blister keeps coming back, if the blister is in your mouth or on your eyelid, if the blister is from a sunburn or chemical reaction. Also, you will want to contact a doctor if you have developed a fever, signs of illness like shaking chills, belly pain, vomiting or diarrhea, muscle or joint aches, headache, or vague sense of illness.