You know the feeling. You’ve got a blister but you foolishly decide to do nothing about it. You carry on, scrunching your toes, tilting your foot, limping. Anything to take the pressure off it. But it gets worse and worse and when you finally take your shoe off, you not only find a blister, but it’s deroofed! Deroofed blisters are simply blisters without a roof. What you’re looking at is the blister base.

What Deroofed Blisters Look Like

A deroofed blister is a blister where the skin (roof) has either rubbed off or been removed (cut off). Because of the large surface area of raw weepy skin, a deroofed blister can:

  • More painful
  • Take longer to heal
  • More susceptible to infection

 

What Causes Blisters To Deroof?

Quite simply, unabated blister-causing forces. If you keep walking or running as a blister is forming, and you do nothing to reduce pressure, friction or other blister-causing forces, your blister will eventually deroof.

 

Treating a Deroofed Blister

You can treat a deroofed blister just like you treat any other blister:

  • Antiseptic
  • Island dressing*
  • Address pressure, friction and the other blister causing forces to help it hurt less and heal faster

*The one difference you can implement is a different dressing. Instead of an island dressing, you can use a hydrocolloid dressing. Hydrocolloids are special wound dressings that can speed healing of raw weepy sores like deroofed blisters. You’ve probably heard of Compeed – it’s the most we’ll known hydrocolloid blister plaster on the market.

The best thing you can do right now is learn about how hydrocolloids work to aid the healing of deroofed blisters. Also, watch this video to help you avoid a few common mistakes people often make.

 

 

You can pick up hydrocolloid plasters at chemists or our online store. Above all, just make sure they’re sterile. This is important, considering they are treating raw weepy wounds like deroofed blisters that can otherwise easily get infected.

 

 

But Wait…

Before you go out and grab a hydrocolloid, remember this. You must only apply hydrocolloids on weepy sores. If your deroofed blister has healed enough so as not to be weepy any more, or you’ve allowed it to scab, don’t use a hydrocolloid. Simply use an island dressing.

 

Is It Ever a Good Idea to Deroof a Blister? 

Let’s say you’ve got an intact blister roof. Some people advocate deroofing it. I don’t think this is a good idea. If you know how to address blister-causing forces and you’ve got a well-stocked blister kit with you, you can ensure your blister roof remains intact. 

Let’s say you have a torn blister roof. Should these be deroofed? I don’t think this is a good idea either. Not unless there is dirt or infective material under your torn blister roof that you can’t remove with a good flushing with water or saline (salt water). If you simply can’t remove the dirt, then yes, it’s probably best to deroof your blister, clean it up and start your blister treatment.

blister deroofing

A medic at the Marathon des Sables deroofing a blister ©iancorless.com – all rights reserved

 

3 Ways To Stop Your Blister From Deroofing

OK, let’s say you’ve got a blister. Perhaps it’s roof isintact, perhaps it’s torn, it doesn’t matter. Let’s discuss what you can do to ensure your blister doesn’t deroof.

 

 

1) Add a Protective (But Not Adhesive) Layer

This will serve as protection from anything abrading or rubbing on your 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.

 

 

2) Eliminate Pressure

The best way to prevent your blister from deroofing is by eliminating all pressure. For example, wearing shoes that don’t touch your blister, like thongs or scuffs. However, in reality, this is not always possible. Like if you are in a race situation or miles from medical support. Or if your blister is under the ball of your foot or between your toes – it’s difficult to take away all the pressure when you walk.

In these situations, you’ll need to 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 go a long way to protecting your blister roof.

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

3) Lower The Friction Level

Reduce the friction level between your shoe and sock. This is 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 below 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.

 

Give Your Deroofed Blister The Right Treatment With Hydrocolloids

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Hydrocolloid Blister Bandages are exudate-absorbent hydrophilic gel dressings. Promotes blister healing. Latex-free, water-proof (10 Pack). Shop now!

VIEW PRODUCT

Rebecca Rushton BSc(Pod)

About The Author

Rebecca Rushton BSc(Pod)

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

AUD $19.99blisterpod hydrocolloid blister bandages large 10-pack new and improved

Hydrocolloid Blister Bandages 10 Pack

Hydrocolloid Blister Bandages are exudate-absorbent hydrophilic gel dressings. Promotes blister healing. Latex-free, water-proof (10 Pack). Shop now!

VIEW PRODUCT

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11 Comments

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    […] fact, my blisters often deroofed – […]

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    […] But they often occur together. Ever had a blister where the top rubs off and you’re left with a red raw sore? We call that a deroofed blister. […]

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    […] But blisters and abrasions often occur together. Have you ever had a blister where the top rubs off and you’re left with a red raw sore? That’s a deroofed blister. […]

  4. Tennis blisters - foot blisters are hard to accept, where to from here 10 June 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

    […] layer of the skin and the void fills with fluid. Once a blister has formed, it is then easily de-roofed with continued frictional […]

  5. Blood Blisters: Dos and Don'ts | Foot Blisters | Blister Prevention 22 June 2013 at 11:21 am - Reply

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  6. carl weil 23 June 2013 at 4:09 am - Reply

    blister fluid like frost bite fluid appears to delay healing and should be drained according to the belief of some. Does any one have any studies in this [email protected]

  7. Rebecca Rushton 23 June 2013 at 4:51 am - Reply

    Hi Carl,
    I don’t know a lot about frostbite blister fluid but as frost bite is an injury of necrosis (tissue death) and ‘friction’ blisters are a mechanical fatigue of the epidermis, they’re probably quite different.
    Knapik et al (1995) do say this of a study by Cortese et al. “They found that if blisters were drained 3 times in the first 24 hours, or once at 24 or 36 hours, blister tops adhered to blisters bases with the greatest frequency. This resulted in the least discomfort and presumably reduced the possibility of secondary infection. Removing blister tops before 48 hours resulted in the greatest discomfort, inflammation and, in one case, secondary infection. Untreated blisters were often accidentally ruptured.”
    I haven’t read anything about the fluid itself retarding healing, but I assume it could if it was under a lot of pressure. I’m in favour of draining blisters on the feet (in a clean environment and using a clean technique to minimise infection!) because there is a lot of pressure from shoes and weightbearing that typically ruptures the blister and brings with it infection risk. But just small nicks to allow it to drain while keeping the roof in place all that’s necessary.
    Thanks for the great question and I’ll keep an eye out for anything else in this regard.
    Rebecca

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    […] big and your foot floats around. The larger bony excursions results in abrasions, deroofed blisters and other […]

  9. Hot-Spot: A Tiny Window of Opportunity for Blister Prevention 30 September 2013 at 4:29 am - Reply

    […] If There’s One Thing Worse Than A Blister …  […]

  10. Melissa Claire WhaleRaven 1 November 2015 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Okay so how would you recommend dealing with a deroofed blister? Should we just dress it and ignore the pain or is there anything to actually deal with it?

  11. Rebecca Rushton 1 November 2015 at 7:46 am - Reply

    As I mention Melissa, you should dress it with a hydrocolloid dressing (eg: Compeed). And that link under "Treating a deroofed blister" heading takes you to this page: http://www.blister-prevention.com/blister-blog/foot-blister-treatment which tells you the importance of reducing friction and pressure as important factors to making it less painful. Make sure you read this about friction and fast blister healing: http://www.blister-prevention.com/fast-blister-healingAll the best.

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