The topic of infected blisters is already one of my top hit-getters, and I'm doing nothing today to decrease my google rank on this subject. But I suppose it's due to a dearth of information - that's certainly what I found when I was researching this for myself. So this is my topic for this week's Take it and Run Thursday (which I've been remarkably slack about participating in lately). This may gross you out, please don't read while eating.
OK, every runner in the world has probably had a blister. And you know you shouldn't pop them, but sometimes you have to. In this case, sterilise a needle and insert it gently into the blister, press the liquid out gently, cover with a bandaid or the like, and let it heal. Don't pull off the extra layer of skin that's left behind, just let it dry out and fall off naturally. Also examine your shoes and socks to see if you can figure out why you got a blister there and what you can do about it (different socks, ensuring no wrinkles in them when you put your shoes on, keeping your feet dry, Body Glide, etc).
But sometimes, even if you don't pop them, your blisters get infected. They may be harder than normal or have redness around them. When mine got infected, I didn't even really know for a long time because it was underneath my callous so I couldn't even see the blistery bit. But I ought to have known better because it was all hot. And neither blisters nor callouses are hot to the touch. It was also really painful to walk on, moreso than a normal blister, and didn't get better even when I wasn't running for a while.
If this describes your blister, you'll need to seek medical attention. The best place to go is someone who can prescribe antibiotics and perform minor procedures, which in the US is probably your regular doctor but in the UK unfortunately turns out to be two separate people (doctor and chiropodist). If you must see two people, I recommend the chiropodist/podiatrist first. They'll lance it open and drain all the nast out of it. Surprisingly, this didn't hurt. You'll likely also need antibiotics to make sure the infection doesn't spread. I got the antibiotics first, which helped bring the infection down a little but honestly didn't help that much as a blister tends to be pretty well isolated from the rest of your system. When I finally saw the chiropodist and had my blister drained it felt better almost immediately, and she didn't think I needed a second round of antibiotics, and it managed to heal pretty quickly.
In the interest of not getting sued, let me finish up by saying this is only my advice based on my experience, and I am not medically trained at all.
thank you for this post. i am in the exact situtation you were at before... i have a blister and it got infected tho i did not pop it. I just realized it was infected the other day. and now, i will be taking antibiotics to help lessen the infection. if it still won't work, i\m afraid i'd have to go to a doctor... but in the Philippines, we don't really have those doctors who specialize in podiatry... nevertheless, should i need medical treatment, i'll just go to the hospital and see what they can do about it... i am scared tho. if they will drain it because my tolerance for pain is really low... and it really hurts now even if i touch it... :(
this is the first time i've experienced this. i am no runner nor walker... but i do feel for you guys especially when you have these blisters and they get infected. I can't imagine how you are able to go through it... when you experience it most of the times...