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My No-Frills Guide to Treating a Blood Blister
Pictures of Pumice Stone and Blood Blister
The Amateur's Advice
When I was training for my first marathon (completed 9-18-10 at the US Air Force Marathon), I encountered a few problems that I’d never thought would be a part of the process. For instance, I’d heard and expected that blisters would develop, but mine was the kind that meant just walking was out of the question. Eventually, I managed to self-diagnose myself. Apparently, I didn't just have blisters, but blood blisters. According to Foot Care Central, blood blisters are "a pouch of blood that forms under the skin due to a pinch or bruise of some sort." All I remember thinking when I looked down at the large blood blister extending across the inner sole of my foot was "That's kind of nasty." Having diagnosed myself, I still felt quite beyond my experience. To my horror, when I turned to Google for the needed remedy and information, I discovered that all the pictures of blood blisters on feetactually paled in comparison to the blood blister I had developed. By the time I finally got around to treating my aching, immobile foot, I had blood blisters on top of blood blisters. While there was a lot of information about how to go about correcting this kind of malady (a little on the overwhelming side, to be honest), some of it seemed a little intense or pricey. Being the kind of person that prefers to save a buck and not be overwhelmed by things like treating a blood blister, I developed a process using advice I gleaned that helped to address the issue and assisted me in finishing my first marathon (after which I had yet more exciting blood blisters).
Materials Used to Treat the Blood Blister
Ø Pumice stone
Ø Special Powder/ Baby Powder
Ø Trash can
Finding the Materials
I found most of the materials at Wal-Mart, but chances are you can find them at some other health pharmacy. The pumice stone was about three or four dollars, the powder around three and the moleskin also around three. Cheaper than some of the other treatments I read about it (and considering the deep red I looked at, I was a bit worried about seeing the doctor). If you really want to cut down, then just stick with the pumice stone and some basic powder if you already have it.
As for the pumice stone, chances are if you’ve never had blisters or calluses before, you don’t know what it looks like. A pumice stone is an abrasive that effectively rids dead skin through its rough texture, formed by volcanoes. Consequently, pumice stones are often used in pedicures. In my experience, I found it to be quite soothing. Just be sure to take the clear wrapping off, or you won’t get far. Point of fact: when I first started using the pumice stone, it took about fifteen minutes before I realized that it was covered with clear wrap. I felt a little less silly when I saw my mom’s pumice stone still wrapped and heard her say she didn’t think the stone worth much.
Removing the Blood Blister: The Preparation Stage
The first time I treated the blood blister, I didn’t know what to expect. Because mine was so large, I ended up mixing in the prep work in the middle of the game. However, this is the part where you get to benefit from my ignorance. First, have a towel ready at the place you choose to sit. Shavings will come off, it will be gross, and you will not want to have bloody shavings on the carpet. Second, have a trash can nearby. This is where the tiny bathroom trash cans come in handy. Having a can nearby assures the instant removal of shavings. Third, have a movie or television show set up, ready to be watched. Depending on the size of your blood blister, the process can be a bit lengthy and it helps if you are watching something while doing this. Having one major blood blister and another smaller one, I watched an episode of Dr. Who while treating it. Finally, make sure that you have the powder, moleskin (or large band-aid) and scissors nearby. These will come into play after treatment.
Removing the Blood Blister: Treatment Stage
Once the pumice stone is removed from the plastic coating, you should soak it in a tub or bin of warm soapy water for anywhere from five to ten minutes. If you like time management, you can begin to soak it and then get the materials together. Yet even keeping that bin or tub of warm, soapy water and dipping the pumice stone into the water throughout the process helps when the stone feels too dry. The next part is the longest part of the process, so be sure you have your movie or television show set up before beginning. Once the pumice stone is done soaking, take it out, go over to your chosen seat, sit down, and gently begin rubbing the stone over the blood blister. This part will feel strange at first, but after a while the sensation will be quite pleasurable. For me, it was like having someone scratching at an itch I couldn’t reach.
As you rub the blister, this will begin to pull the blood blister and layers of toughened skin away. Not too much attention is needed for the first few layers, especially because the process takes a little bit and is slow going at first. After you’ve scraped off most of the layers, which will be recognized by the blood and toughness of the skin, you will have to show more concern when you get to the soft part beneath your skin. As your foot becomes more vulnerable and has less dead skin, the pumice stone has more opportunity to cause minor cuts in the rubbing process, so you’ll want to be sure to rub it over the dead skin and not the vulnerable, pinkish flesh beneath. Now when you estimate that you’ve pulled off as much dead skin as possible without endangering the tender flesh now exposed, you can set the pumice stone aside and begin the final stage of the treatment.
Removing the Blood Blister: Post Treatment
When you are finished using the pumice stone, you can scrape the disgusting remnants of skin into the trash. After letting your foot air out for a little bit, you are then ready for the next phase of the healing process. First, I’ve found it helpful to put on a special kind of powder. I used Gold Bond medicated powder, but I’m certain another brand of powder would work as well, though I would recommend looking for one that is medicated just to give your foot extra care Now, if you’re wondering why you should put powder where the blood blister once was, the reason is that blisters essentially are caused by a lot of friction and sweat.
The foot has an enormous capacity for sweat, so when covering a long distance, the sweat mixed with the friction causes blisters. Chafing also happens this way and so using powder for the areas that chafe has also been a big help because powder catches the water and sweat. Consequently, this is also why we put baby powder on babies when they develop rashes on their behinds. By sprinkling powder over the tender area, you’re keeping the area dry so that when it does deal with moisture and friction, it will be less likely to cause the formation of a blister.
Once you’ve sprinkled powder where the blood blister used to be, you are ready for the last step in treating the blood blister: moleskin. Now, the timing of this step depends on how soon you need to be up and moving. If you don’t have to do any major traveling, then I would wait until the next day to give your vulnerable skin a chance to air out. But if you are planning on going for a run later, using moleskin can be quite helpful (although my husband didn’t think so, I noticed a difference). Then, placing the one pad of moleskin over the blister, take the pen and draw a rough outline of the blister over the brown part of the moleskin. Cut the moleskin from the pad, remove the adhesive strip from the moleskin part, and place the moleskin on top of the blood blister. This will help protect the blood blister against infection and further irritation while it heals. Also, it helps if you have a lot of running to do the next day.
While others might have their technique of treating blood blisters, this was my own process of treating my blood blister. And, to sound like a perfectly annoying late night infomercial, I was genuinely surprised at how fast the remedy worked. I went from barely walking to actually being able to walk with almost no pain within a matter of ten to twenty minutes of finishing my treatment of the blood blister. And to my immense relief, the whole process was relatively cheap. So while I’m not a doctor or much of an athlete, this is what worked for me. Obviously, there are many other schools of thought and advice on the internet, but as I could walk pain free much faster than I anticipated, I thought this was a pretty awesome method.