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How Do I Treat a Toenail Blister?

Sterile gauze can be used to wrap an injured toe.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
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In most cases you should not do anything to treat a toenail blister, as your body will work to heal the wound on its own. If you are competing in a walking or running event, you may be able to drain the blister using a sterilized needle if it is close enough to the surface. Blisters that are found deep beneath the toenail may need to be treated by a professional.

Blisters form when consistent friction irritates an area of skin. They are produced by the body in an attempt to protect and cushion the area. A blister may appear as a large bulge on the surface of the skin, and it may be filled with a clear or light-colored fluid. This fluid will generally be watery in nature. Thick, yellow, or malodorous fluid may be indicative of a more severe infection and should be evaluated by a doctor.

If you develop a toenail blister, your body will heal the area on its own without treatment in most cases. Avoid adding undue friction to the area and place tape or a bandage over the affected toe to keep it protected and in place. You may need to avoid exercises like walking, running, or jogging for a day or so until the blister has time to heal. Once this occurs, continue with your normal activities, but wear protective shoes and keep a bandage on the area to prevent future blisters until your toe is no longer red or sore.

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On occasion, it may be necessary to drain a toenail blister, such as if you are running or walking competitively or have a job which requires frequent walking or standing. To drain a blister, clean a needle thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and gently insert it into the blister to open it up. A clear liquid will run out, and you should keep gauze or cotton balls handy to absorb it. Then, apply an antibiotic ointment to the blister and cover it with a bandage.

Do not remove the nail in order to drain a toenail blister. If it is located too far beneath the nail for you to reach it yourself, you will need to see a doctor. He or she can create a small hole and drain the toenail blister through the opening. Removing your entire toenail is extremely painful and may result in a serious infection if you do it yourself.

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Discuss this Article

stoneMason
Post 3

Has anyone had to cut out a part of their nail to drain and treat a toenail blister? I just had to do this and I'm not in a lot of pain but I'm worried about infection and my nail.

Will my nail grow out properly? Is there something I can do to encourage it to grow and heal more quickly?

ZipLine
Post 2

@donasmrs-- I don't think it's a good idea to pop and drain blisters. The liquid inside the blister is actually a good thing. It protects the blister from infection, helps healing and serves as a cushion. If you pop it, the risk of infection will be higher.

My advice to you is to buy some of those gel-like blister bandages from the pharmacy and put it over the blister. If you can, wear soft shoes with soft socks to protect the blister. And let the blister heal on its own.

As long as your socks are clean, even if the blister pops on its own, it shouldn't get infected. You can apply some antibiotic ointment on it if that happens.

donasmrs
Post 1

I have a toenail blister on my right foot and I'm scared that it's going to pop and get infected inside my shoe.

I'm fairly active and have to go to work. What should I do? Should I pop it?

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