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Having red, itchy, painful blisters on foot. Fluid leak out after scratching. How to get cured?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
I am having trouble with red itchy painful blisters that are on both my feet. The blisters are localized to the tops of my middle 3 toes located in the joints on both feet. This is been a recurrent problem for about a year now. First the skin in the joint of the toes get really red and begin to itch, a couple of days after that the entire skin surface will blister. When i scratch the skin surface open, clear fluid begins to leak out. The itching is almost unbearable. About a week after that the skin will begin to dry and peel off the top of my toes. The blisters are not like a rash, they are one large blister on the tops of my toes in the joint below the toenail. I have tried over the counter fungal cream and sprays but they are only a quick fix, the blisters reoccur at least every couple of months. Help!!!!!
Posted Thu, 19 Jul 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.

Two possibilities are coming to my mind from your symptoms. These are:

1)     Herpetic whitlow caused by infection by HSV-1 or HSV-2. Symptoms of herpetic whitlow include swelling, reddening and tenderness of the skin of infected finger or toe. Small, clear vesicles initially form individually, then merge and become cloudy.

2)     Pompholyx: Pompholyx primarily involves the hands and fingers and then may involve the feet. The first stage is acute and presents as itchy blisters on the hands, fingers and toes. Then the chronic stage shows more peeling, cracking, or crusting. Then the skin heals up, or the blistering may start again.

Some triggers like allergic reaction to soaps, detergents, foods, latex, nickel etc may trigger the symptoms. Apply some calamine lotion on the affected area and keep the area well moisturized. Use only thin applications of moisturizer ointments as excessive amounts of ointment may restrict breathing of the skin and aggravate the condition.

Topical steroids can be applied but they are available under prescription. Moreover to prevent infection, topical antibiotics or antivirals if it is herpetic whitlow may be needed. You should consult your dermatologist and get the diagnosis confirmed.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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