There is a big difference between a wart and a callous. They occur on the bottom of our feet for separate reasons. Here is a break down of a wart and a callous:
These are warts we see at the bottom of our feet. They are called plantar warts to identify that they are on the bottom of our feet (the plantar surface). A common skin infection, this virus can enter the body through a break in the skin. They are typically picked up from warm moist environments such as locker room floors and public swimming pools. Plantar warts can erupt anywhere on the sole of the foot. Once the virus is inside of the foot, skin lines pass around the wart. As the wart start growing, standing and walking push the wart flat and they begin to grow up into the skin, sometimes making you feel like you have a stone in your shoe. They do have a blood supply that they are using from your body that helps them stay alive and little black spots can be seen throughout the wart.
As we walk, our feet are designed to cushion the impact of pressure from our body being placed on the foot by fat pads displaced through our feet. But, if we do not have adequate amounts of cushion or if we are walking to compensate for a painful foot or leg, we may not be placing the pressure on our foot where it typically is suppose to be. The foot then responds by thickening the skin in that area to protect itself from the added pressure. This localized high friction pressure area is typically seen on your heels and forefoot or under any bony prominences. The skin lines also pass through a callous but this no blood supply with no black spots visible.
Testing to see if it is a Wart or a Callous:
If you are uncertain of what you have at the bottom of your foot, pinch it. If there is extreme pain when you squeeze the side of it together. It is a wart. Remember, he is alive in there and you are hurting him. If there is no pain when you pinch it, this is just many layers of skin your body had build up to add extra cushioning to the bottom of your foot. The only pain you may feel from the callous is direct pressure when you are standing up.
How to get rid of a Wart or a Callous:
For a wart, your physician can carefully trim the wart and apply a chemically treated dressing. Salicylic acid patch applied daily, with good foot hygiene and regular use of a pumice stone are all that may be needed. Remember, it may take several weeks for the wart to disappear completely. To reduce the risks of getting plantar warts, be sure to wear flip flops or sandals when you use a public locker room or shower!
For a callous, the weight on the bottom of your foot needs to be off loaded from the area of direct pressure. Once the pressure is taken off of the area, typically from a pair of custom made orthotics, the foot will sense that the extra skin is not needed any more and the foot itself will start removing the layers of skin from that area. In some cases the callous is so thick that removal of a callous may be necessary at first. After the tough skin is removed, the body shouldn’t need to build the skin in that area again.