Pool Toe Blisters Bleeding, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Aquatic sports take place in either saltwater or freshwater. Freshwater is frequently found in lakes, ponds, and recreational pools. People who participate in aquatic sports in an environment containing freshwater run the risk of developing skin disorders that are related to the activity. Cohen first identified pool toes in 2005, classifying it as a dermatosis caused by participation in water sports that primarily affected children and teenagers. It is believed that contact with the sometimes rough, non-slip outside surface of the pool deck or the pool floor leads to this harmless condition. The lesions normally disappear within a few days, although recurrence after re-exposure is possible.

Pool toe blisters mostly result from too much pool time. Blisters develop on the toes due to contact between the foot and the pool bottom. This ailment, sometimes known as pool pulpitis, can cause irritation and blistering on the finger pads or palms. It is a form of friction dermatitis, commonly affecting the palms, heels, toes, fingertips, and toe tips. Its growth is most likely aided by the more delicate skin of youngsters combined with extended water exposure, which causes mechanical friction and overhydration of the epidermis. 

Pool Toe Blister Bleeding

The friction that occurs between the edge of the pool and a person’s feet leads to the development of a subcorneal hematoma, which is characterized by the production of blisters and the accumulation of blood in the epidermis just below the stratum corneum. Subcorneal hematoma is a type of pigmented skin lesion that typically appears on the palms or soles of the feet or hands following trauma or physical exertion. 

Wearing appropriate footwear, such as swim shoes or socks, and avoiding repetitive hopping on abrasive surfaces are both recommended for the prevention of bleeding toes. It is essential to keep the affected region clean and covered if a blood blister or friction burn develops. It is also advised to seek medical care if bleeding continues or the damage is serious.

Pool Toe Blister Symptoms

Pool toes appear as sensitive erythema on the foot and distal plantar toes. Some swimmers get blisters when their feet rub against the pool floor too much, while those with a higher instep don’t have to worry about their toes and those with a thicker heel either get blisters or not. When the patient’s feet are no longer in contact with the rough cement on the pool’s bottom, the symptoms and lesions of pool toes gradually disappear.

Pool Toe Blister Causes

Pool toes can develop as a result of initial contact with the rough pool bottom or as a result of repeated swimming episodes involving contact with the pool floor. It happens more often in kids because many public pools have rough cement bottoms in the small areas to keep kids from slipping and falling when they walk in those areas. It also happens more commonly early in the swim season, before the swimmer’s feet have had a chance to harden and/or create calluses in response to the rough cement on the pool bottom. The term “pool palms” is used to describe similar lesions that develop on the ventral fingers and hands of children.  

Pool Toe Blister Treatment

Soaking feet in cold water for a while is the best way to treat pool toes. Oral acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen may help reduce the soreness of the afflicted areas, and a lotion containing camphor and menthol, whether cold or at room temperature, can provide some pain relief.

Pool toes are usually self-limited. However, the problem can return if the plantar toes and soles of the feet are repeatedly subjected to the hard surface of the pool. To avoid getting pool toes or having them return, it’s important to wear protective footwear when in the pool, such as shoes with a rubber sole.

There is an increased risk of bacterial illness, viral infection (such as plantar verruca), or both in patients with pool toes. They can happen when the usual intact skin on the plantar toes and soles of the feet is altered by friction-induced damage. If the abrasions are serious or there are blisters present, a topical antibiotic ointment is beneficial in preventing bacterial infection.

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