Blisters with blood: an overview

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For most people, blisters are a fairly common and mild skin condition. Friction blisters that appear on the heel due to friction up and down the shoe fill with a clear liquid.

On the other hand, blood blisters are swollen sacs on the skin that contain blood. Smaller blisters can also be called blisters , while larger blisters are called blisters . In most cases, the blood blisters will go away on their own and will not pose a serious health problem for you.

Here's what you need to know about this mild skin condition, when and how to care for it, and how to prevent blood blistering.

General locations

There are several places where blood blisters can appear. They include:

  • Hands
  • Fingers
  • Legs
  • Mouth
  • Areas of the body subject to excessive friction.
  • Pinched skin (like pinching a finger on a door)
  • Near the joints
  • Close up of bony bumps

Symptoms

You will be able to distinguish blood bubbles from fluid-filled rubbing bubbles because the raised area will fill with blood, not clear fluid. When you have a blood blister, the deeper layers of your skin are affected and the cells above the blister die.

Blood vessels in the skin are slightly damaged, often dilated as part of the immune response to dying cells, and inflammation occurs. Encapsulated blood initially has a light red hue, but this hue will darken over time.

Depending on how you acquired the bloody blister, you may experience pain at or around the site and you may notice inflammation. Also, bloody blisters can be itchy.

Causes

While bloody blisters can happen to anyone, they are more common in active people (such as athletes or dancers) and in people who wear shoes that don't fit well on their feet. People who have jobs and hobbies associated with manual labor are also at risk of developing blood blisters.

Here are some of the reasons a person can develop blood blisters:

  • The skin is pinched and does not tear.
  • The skin is exposed to strong friction, such as when walking, lifting heavy objects, or using a tool.
  • Ill-fitting shoes cause increased friction against the heels and bony areas of the toes, such as bursitis.
  • Feet are more prone to blisters when wet: moisture softens the skin and makes it more susceptible to rubbing.
  • Freezing can cause blood blisters to form.
  • According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, people with certain medical conditions, such as kidney failure, can develop blood blisters in the mouth.
  • People who take certain medications, such as blood thinners, may have a higher risk of blood blistering.

If you have an unexplained blood blister in your mouth, see your doctor as soon as possible to rule out additional causes.

Blisters in the mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, including trauma from hot foods, dental work, and endoscopic procedures. But they can also occur due to serious medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis , diabetes, high blood pressure , and, as mentioned above, kidney failure.

When to contact a healthcare provider

Diagnosis of a blood bladder is often relatively straightforward. For example, a blood bladder may have formed after a minor skin injury, such as pinching your toe or frequently rubbing your big toe against the side of your shoe.

In many cases, you will be able to identify the blister with blood, and you don't need medical attention or a doctor's visit if you leave the blister alone and give it time to heal.

However, if you discover any of the following symptoms, it may be appropriate to visit your healthcare provider to ensure proper healing:

  • Pain caused by the blood bladder interferes with your daily activities.
  • The bloody blister appeared for an unknown reason.
  • It shows signs of infection such as redness, swelling, and a feeling of warmth to the touch.
  • The bloody bubble leaves and then comes back.
  • Find a blister in an unexpected place, such as in the mouth, on the eyelids, or in the genital area.
  • Find multiple blood blisters at once for no apparent reason.
  • You have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or circulatory problems, that can make it difficult for your body to heal.
  • A blister appears after an allergic reaction, burn, or sunburn.

Watch out

As mentioned above, in most cases, the blister heals on its own if you remove the trauma or repetitive motion that originally caused it.

While you may be tempted to burst the blister with blood, experts recommend resisting this urge. The layer of skin that covers the blister helps protect it from infection. Over time, after about a week or two, the bloody blister should dry up on its own.

If the blister is causing you discomfort, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be enough to ease the pain.

Prophylaxis

Fortunately, most blood blisters, although they can be mildly irritating in a short period of time, will disappear after a few weeks. While there is no sure way to plan for an accidentally pinched toe, there are a few things you can do to lower your chances of developing a blood bladder in other ways.

Illustration by Brianna Gilmartin, Get Drug Information

Follow these tips:

  • Wear gloves if you plan to use your hands or use tools or other equipment that requires repetitive movements and can cause friction against your skin.
  • Make sure your shoes fit well and do not put pressure on your skin.
  • Wear socks with your shoes.
  • If you notice that some pressure areas are forming, you may need to protect your skin with an adhesive pad or moleskin until the shoe breaks.
  • If your feet are sweaty, adding the powder to your shoes may help absorb excess moisture.
  • Use a foot lubricant to reduce friction on your skin.
  • If painful blood blisters still appear on your shoes, you may need to consider purchasing a new pair.

Get the word of drug information

In general, you can prevent blood blisters by wearing well-fitting hands and shoes. If you develop a bloody blister, they usually heal without causing you much trouble.

However, if the blood blisters appear in unusual places and you cannot identify the cause, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor to rule out other conditions.

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