Blisters on the bottom of the feet are a common childhood ailment. Although they are often very painful, they don't normally indicate a serious underlying condition. When blisters are rubbed, squeezed or otherwise irritated, they may become infected, so if your child's blisters are getting worse after several days of home treatment, contact your pediatrician.
According to pediatrician William Sears, the most common cause of blisters on the feet is irritation from shoes 1. Ill-fitting, new or poorly designed shoes may rub the tender skin of the feet. If the blisters are red or translucent and fluid filled, check your child's shoes for spots that might irritate the feet. Some children are prone to warts on their feet, which may superficially resemble blisters. When rubbed frequently by shoes, the warts may develop blisters. If the marks on your child's feet are hard and flesh-colored, they are probably warts. Though most warts don't cause pain, they can cause pressure on tender areas of the foot.
Hand, foot and mouth disease causes dry, scaly marks on the feet, according to Sears. Common among children younger than 10, this virus is caused by contact with an infected person or fecal-oral contact. The virus usually clears up on its own. Rarely, blisters on the bottom of the feet may occur as a result of burns from walking on hot pavement or extreme sunburns. Some skin conditions and chronic illnesses cause marks that resemble blisters, so any sores that get worse over several days warrant medical treatment 4.
Never try to pop blisters. They normally break open and drain on their own after several days, and popping them might cause an infection, according to "The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies." Triple antibiotic ointments speed healing time, and cool compresses can ease pain 2. Ensure that your child wears shoes that do not aggravate the blisters and encourage her to go barefoot as frequently as possible. If the blisters develop an infection, your pediatrician may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic. Signs of an infection include fever, swelling, oozing and severe pain.
To prevent blisters, encourage your child to wear socks with tennis shoes and boots. He should wear new shoes for brief periods of time to break them in prior to walking in them for long periods. Blister-like ailments such as foot and mouth disease can be prevented with good hygiene. Encourage your child to wash his hands after playing with other children or if he is around someone with sores on their body.
- "The Portable Pediatrician"; William Sears, M.D., et al.; 2011
- "The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies"; Mayo Clinic; 2010
- Summer Soles; Foot Blisters & Skin; Dr. Adriana Karpati
- Foot Pain Explained: Blisters and Their Treatment
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