I read an advice column this past weekend suggesting to wear "toe socks" as a way to avoid blisters between the toes on a woman who recently started a walking program and I take issue with that advice!
Blisters are a sign of irritation and blisters between the toes would indicate irritation of one toe against the adjacent toe. Usually, there are bone protrusions on the adjacent toes that cause pressure from one toe to the next piggy. Hammertoes commonly cause a thickness of the toe joints which can be an irritant by themselves or with bone spurs on the toe bones. These bony prominences, when pressed together in tight shoes, cause the body to try to protect itself by creating fluid under the skin. That fluid turns into a blister and can become quite painful on its own due to inflammation.
Wearing toe socks may seem to give cushioning there is already a blister present but tend to take up even more room in an already crowded space and wearers would find continued walking quite uncomfortable! Small blisters usually resolve on their own although they may cause a callus over the area. Blisters that are painful, whether between the toes or elsewhere, need to be relieved of the fluid. Using a sterile needle to incise the blister on its most dependent location will work, but if any blood is in the blister or any fluid that is not clear comes out, it is time to see your podiatrist. If any signs of infection are present (swelling, drainage, redness), a trip to the podiatrist is also very important.
The best way to avoid blisters is to make sure you are wearing shoes that are wide enough to comfortable fit all five toes! I often advise my walkers to use running shoes.
Removing the bone spurs or correcting any hammertoes that may be present will usually solve the problem once and for all!