We have found that some patients will come in the office positive that they have one condition and then when we look at their foot, their self-diagnosis is not correct.
One example of this confusion is that a patient may think that they have a callus and it is really a wart or the reverse.
Our bodies are incredible when you think about it. If the is a virus or bacteria that enters our body, our body will develop antibodies to try and fight off the invasion. Developing a callus is a cool trick that your body can perform. When an area of your foot has a lot of pressure or friction exerted upon it, the exterior dead skin will become thick to protect the area. When I think of calluses, I think of them developing on the balls of the feet, under the big toe, or on the heel of the foot. Calluses develop because of pressure from walking either barefoot or in shoes that put the foot in a position where some areas receive more pressure than others. Another cause of calluses can be if socks don’t fit right and they are bunched up in an area of your shoe. Over time, the repeated pressure from ill-fitting socks, can cause calluses. Thin soled shoes will also cause your feet to feel more pressure from walking surfaces. This will cause the feet to build up tough layers of skin to protect itself from the pressure of your foot hitting the hard surface.
This thickening of the skin will not hurt but can cause pain when pressure is applied. This means that when you are sitting, you may not have any pain from the callus but when you go to walk then it will hurt because of the pressure. Also, if you press on the callus or squeeze it, it can hurt. Calluses can get large enough that your shoes will not fit right.
In contrast, a wart is a form of the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). There are over 100 known types of HPV. Some people have more resistance to HPV than others. The virus that causes warts seems to affect children and young people more than other older adults. The virus is spread by direct contact with the virus. This contact can happen when you share a towel, razor, or other person items with someone infected with HPV. Moist settings like public showers, gyms and locker rooms are ideal breeding grounds for virus growth. The virus will enter the body through a small break in the skin. Warts can form any part of the body. There are five different kinds of warts. The kind most often found on the foot is the plantar wart. Plantar warts form on the sole of the foot and cause the sole to thicken. When you are sitting, they are not painful but once you start walking, it can feel like you have pebbles in your shoes.
It is often very hard to tell the difference between skin on the foot that is thickened from calluses or skin that is thickened by warts. This is where your friendly local podiatrist can help you. The doctor can tell the difference between the two and can give you the appropriate treatment. You will find the relief to be wonderful.