6 Reasons You Should Not Tape Blisters

by Rebecca Rushton

In this article, we're discussing the pros and cons of sticking tape over any already-formed blister. That could be an intact, torn or deroofed blister.
Avoid these blister taping fails to make your foot blister hurt less and heal quicker

    should you tape blisters like this?
    Three types of blisters


    Should you tape blisters?

    Pros

    There are no pros.

    Cons

    1.    It will rip the roof off

    It does not make sense to apply anything adhesive to a blister with an intact roof. Because when the time comes to remove the tape, it will rip that skin off. Take a look at this photo!

    2.    It will open your blister up to infection

    The blister roof skin stops germs from getting into your blister. If you fall for mistake number one, you need to realise you’ve taken a sterile blister and opened it up to the chance of infection. FAIL!

    3.    It will slow healing

    If you put tape on a torn blister, it will remove what’s left of that loose flap of blister roof skin. What you should be doing is leaving that piece of skin over the raw blister base. It actually accelerates healing.

    4.    It will remove fragile healing skin

    A deroofed blister takes at least a few days to heal. In fact, it can take a week or more, depending on its depth, location and how you look after it. So if you put tape over a deroofed blister, each time you remove the tape to replace it, you’ll be removing valuable healing skin cells. The more you do this, the longer your deroofed blister will take to heal. 

    5.    It won’t absorb any blister fluid

    What’s one feature common to a torn and deroofed blister? They weep. So anything you put over your blister needs to absorb that weepiness. Tape does not do this – dressings do. There’s a particular type of dressing you’ll be familiar with called an island dressing. The non-adherent and absorbent “island” of material within an “ocean” of adhesive tape is what you should be putting on every blister. 

    Note: There is one exception to this rule and it applies to the use of hydrocolloid blister dressings on deroofed blisters.

    6.    It may cause a sensitivity reaction

    Have you ever read the warning on packaging that says something like: “Do not apply to open wounds”? Anything placed directly onto an open wound is more likely to cause a local sensitivity (or allergic) reaction and/or be absorbed systemically. A deroofed blister is an open wound. And the adhesive used in tapes can cause sensitivity reactions even on intact skin! Never place tape directly over an intact blister. Only ever use a sterile island dressing.

    Note: There is one exception to this rule and it applies to the use of hydrocolloid blister dressings on deroofed blisters.

    Makes sense, doesn’t it.

     

    So that’s what not to do.

    Now find out what to do: How to treat treat blisters instead of taping them.





    Rebecca Rushton
    Rebecca Rushton

    Author

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


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