What Are the Most Common Causes of Toe Blisters?

Wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent toe blisters.
Infections can cause toe blisters, and if a blister breaks it can cause an infection if it's cleaned properly.
Many runners get blood blisters on their toes and feet.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2014
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Toe blisters, like blisters on other areas of the foot, are most commonly caused by friction from ill-fitting shoes or moisture within the socks and shoes. As the foot moves within the shoe, different layers of skin tend to shear away from each other, and a fluid fills the void. If the blister gets infected, that fluid may be pus; in other cases, the fluid might be blood or simply a clear liquid called blister fluid. While friction is the most common cause of toe blisters, infections or extremely high or low temperatures can also cause blisters on different areas of the foot and body.

Extremely high temperatures can cause toe blisters. Stepping on a hot surface with the bare foot can cause blisters immediately, from a severe burn. If blisters appear after a few days, a less severe burn has occurred. Extremely low temperatures can also cause blisters, and they are an indicator that frostbite has occurred. Swimming in cold water consistently or for long periods of time can lead to frostbite on highly susceptible toes; frostbite is most likely to occur on parts of the body furthest away from the heart.

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Direct impact can also cause toe blisters that are likely to be filled with blood. Such toe blisters occur when a blood vessel bursts, allowing blood to leak in between layers of skin. These types of toe blisters are often known as blood blisters, and while they are more often caused by direct impact, they may also occur as a result of friction on the skin. In many cases, the layer of skin on top of the blood pocket may separate, allowing the fluid within to leak out. This leaves a flap of skin that will eventually dry out and fall off.

Treatment of toe blisters varies depending on the type of blister incurred. In most cases, wrapping the blister to keep it from bursting is the best course of action; blister fluid helps regenerate skin and also helps the wound heal. The fluid will eventually be absorbed back into the body harmlessly. Moleskin is often cut and placed around the blister to prevent friction from affecting the blister any more. The moleskin fabric is soft and durable, and it will absorb the blister fluid should the blister break during movement. If the blister breaks, it is a good idea to clean the wound with antiseptic to prevent infection.

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lighth0se33
Post 7

@ddljohn – The worst thing about blood blisters is their appearance. After the initial pain of impact fades, the blisters themselves don't hurt at all.

It is pretty awful to have a blood blister on your toe in the summer, though. If you will be wearing any type of open-toed shoe, you will be showing it off. Likely, you won't be wearing shoes that cover your toes, because in addition to making you too hot, they will create friction on your blood blister and keep it from healing.

I have actually put concealer on my blood blisters before. I use the green kind, because it hides the red, and then I put foundation on top of that.

OeKc05
Post 6

@Oceana – Ouch! That does sound extra painful. I got burned by some hot grease, so I know how burn blisters on your toes can hurt.

My husband just realized that the bacon he had been cooking was starting to burn, so he rushed the pan over to the counter. I was standing on the other side of it, and when he quickly flipped the bacon onto a plate, he flicked hot grease down onto my bare toes.

I screamed and ran to the bathroom. I ran cold water over them, but blisters formed later, anyway. I didn't pop them, and I wore flip flops until they healed to avoid friction.

ddljohn
Post 5

@alisha-- I had the same problem with my shoes giving me toe blisters and sore feet. If you have trouble with shoe sizes, I think it's better to get the larger one and wear thick socks to fill in the extra space. Something else you can do is wear foot powder (or even baby powder). Apply it generously between your toes and all over your feet to prevent blisters from sweat and heat.

I think blood blisters are the worst. I got a really nasty one last month. I dropped a heavy box on my toe. Thank God it didn't fracture, but I got a huge blood blister there. It hurt a lot! I didn't do anything though. It just healed on its own.

Oceana
Post 4

My best friend went to the beach on vacation one summer, and she got blisters all over her feet from walking on the hot sand. As she stepped across it, the sand dusted over her toes and scorched them.

Even though she figured out pretty quickly that she needed to wear shoes while walking on the sand, it was too late. The damage had already been done.

To make things worse, she also got a sunburn all over. She is extremely fair-skinned, and the tops of her feet turned bright red. This made the blisters seem that much more painful.

kylee07drg
Post 3

I have never heard of moleskin before. I always just used a regular adhesive bandage on my toe blisters.

Work shoes that look fashionable tend to cause blisters. I really wish that fashion and comfort could go hand in hand. I'm sick of dealing with blisters because of our formal work dress code.

It seems that even when I find a pair of shoes that looks comfortable and feels okay when I try it on, if there is even one spot that might seem slightly abrasive, it will cause blisters after a day of wearing them. I work in a clothing store, and I have to wear trendy clothing, which includes torturous shoes. If I showed up in a pair of orthopedic shoes, my boss would freak out, so I just have to deal with the blisters.

discographer
Post 2

@fify-- Yea, it's best to leave them alone. If it leaks on it's own, that's fine. Plus, when they burst, they hurt a lot. Whereas it doesn't hurt that much when the liquid is still there.

I get blisters because of my shoes too. I walk a lot for my job and I also play soccer on the weekends. I do have good shoes for both, but I think my feet are quite thin and narrow. So it's kind of hard to find shoes that fit my feet well. They're either too loose on the sides, or to short at top. And both of these issues cause friction and give me blisters on my toes. It's even worse when the weather is hot.

I really don't know what to do about this! It seems really hard to find a shoe that's made for the kind of feet I have. And I'm tired of having multiple blisters on my toes all the time. It's uncomfortable, ugly and painful.

Is there a toe blister treatment that can prevent them from happening in the first place?

fify
Post 1
I'm *not* supposed to burst a blister?! Oops!

I get blisters on my toes every spring and summer. During winter, the skin on my feet becomes really soft and sensitive from wearing closed shoes all the time. So when I switch to open shoes and sandals at the end of spring, I always develop blisters on my feet and toes.

I had no idea that I'm not supposed to touch them and that blister fluid is actually good for my skin. I usually burst the blister and remove the extra skin. Then I put antibiotic cream on it and cover it with a band-aid. I guess I was doing the right treatment for an already burst blister. I will take care not to intentionally burst any toe blisters from now on.

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