Deroofed Blisters On Feet: Cause, Preventions & Treatment

by Rebecca Rushton

You know the feeling...

You've got a blister but there's nothing you can do about it.

So you carry on, scrunching your toes, tilting your foot, limping a little, anything to take the pressure off it.

But it gets worse and worse and when you finally take your shoe off... ouch... deroofed blister!

small deroofed blister

Small deroofed blister on back of heel


Or maybe even this... eeewww!

Bad deroofed blisters

Nasty deroofed blisters on back of heel


What causes a deroofed blister?

Quite simply, unabated blister-causing forces.

If you keep walking or running as a blister is forming, and you do nothing to reduce pressure of reduce friction levels or the amount your bones are moving within your foot, your blister is going to deroof. You'll be left with a raw blister blase.


raw blistersMore raw deroofed blisters (Photo credit)



3 Ways to stop your blister from deroofing

1) Add a protective layer

This will serve as protection from anything rubbing on your raw blister.

Don't put tape over your blister. While you'll stop your blister from deroofing initially, when you come to take that tape off, it's going to take the blister roof off with it, leaving you with the very problem you're trying to avoid.

Use an island dressing instead, like a bandaid. The adhesive part sticks to the surrounding intact skin to keep it in place, but not the blister roof itself because there's an island of non-adherent absorbing material in the middle.

Learn more about island dressings.


2) Eliminate pressure

The best way to prevent your blister from deroofing is by eliminating all pressure. By wearing shoes that don't touch the blister (eg: thongs or scuffs for blisters on the toes or back of the heel). This will allow the blister to resolve in its own time. In reality, this is not always possible, like if you are in a race situation or miles from support. Or if your blister is under the ball of your foot or between your toes.

Alternatively, you can try and reduce pressure. For example, donut pads. By cutting a hole in a piece of thick orthopedic felt / moleskin and adhering it over the area so the blister is in the cavity, pressure and movement against the skin can be avoided or at least minimised. This will keep the blister roof intact.

Here are 10 ways to take pressure off a foot blister.


3) Lower the friction level (ENGO patch / lubricant / powder)

Reduce the friction level between your shoe and sock. This is blister prevention (and deroofing prevention) GOLD. Why? Because you allow the sock and skin to move as a single unit so the sock actually protects the skin. Watch this video to see what I mean. Or you can reduce the friction level between your foot and the sock (lubricants, powders, moisture-wicking socks). It's not quite as effective but better than not addressing the friction level at all.

Learn more about reducing friction levels.

Treating a deroofed blister

In a word ... hydrocolloid blister plasters!  Watch this video below for more information. You can pick up hydrocolloid plasters at pharmacies. Just make sure they’re sterile. This is important, considering they are treating raw weepy wounds that could easily get infected.

Learn more about hydrocolloid blisters plasters here.

Not sure if you've got a deroofed blister? Learn about the three types of blisters and how you can get rid of foot blisters from this article.


BlisterPod Hydrocolloid Blister Plasters


Is it ever a good idea to deroof a blister? 

I don't think so. Not unless there is so much dirt or infective material under the torn blister roof that you can't remove with a good flushing with water or saline (salt water).


blister deroofing
Marathon Des Sables race medic deroofing a competitor's foot blister © - all rights reserved


Learn how to treat ANY kind of blister - Download the Blister Treatment Blueprint


Rebecca Rushton
Rebecca Rushton


Podiatrist, blister prone ex-hockey player, foot blister thought-leaderauthor and educator. Can’t cook. Loves test cricket.

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