The Scientist: Quinton Yeldell, DPM, founder of natural foot care brand Southern Hospitality

The Answer: If a blister becomes painful or is making walking uncomfortable, it’s totally fine to pop it to relieve the pressure. You just need to be sure that it’s really just a blister and not another type of lesion, like a wart, which should always be left to a doctor’s capable hands. A blister is usually filled with fluid and not very firm when you squeeze or press on it; a wart will feel firmer, and probably hurt if you squeeze its sides.

Once you’ve decided it’s time to pop, make sure the entire area — and the tools you’re using — are completely clean to avoid infection. Sterilize a needle with rubbing alcohol or by holding it over a flame for a few seconds. Clean the blister and area immediately around it with rubbing alcohol. Then, slowly puncure the blister from the side. Let the fluid drain. When it’s all empty, clean the area again, dab it dry and apply antibiotic ointment like Neosporin and a Band-aid.

If you’re ever unsure whether something on your foot is a blister or not, leave it alone and go get it checked out by your podiatrist or dermatologist. They can let you know if it’s something that needs professional attention, or if it’s just a pesky blister.

To prevent blisters on your feet in the future, make sure you’re wearing shoes that fit properly, especially in the toe box, to minimize rubbing. Your shoes should fit comfortably when you’re buying them — don’t just assume they’ll get more comfortable after you break them in.

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