What’s wrong with my feet?
The most commonly encountered skin problems seen by podiatrists.
While a multitude of different skin problems are seen by podiatrists on a daily basis some occur much more often than others. When a rash or other skin irregularity is seen some type of infection is usually the culprit. These can be caused by bacteria, fungi, or even viruses, as in the case of warts. Direct irritation, such as caused by repetitive rubbing or friction, is also quite common, as are allergic reactions. To complicate matters the appearance and symptoms of the above conditions often mimic one another. For this reason, and many others, it’s always best to seek professional care for any skin problems of the feet.
Technically known as verruca plantaris, plantar warts are caused by a viral infection. Much as it sounds these are normally found on the bottoms of the feet but are frequently encountered on the sides of the feet as well. Each individual wart, or verruca, usually appears as a raised, circular lesion with a flat top which can contain several small black spots. Even with their distinctive appearance it’s possible to mistake warts for calluses or corns. Warts are unusually resistant to treatment yet several techniques can eradicate them completely when used correctly.
#2—Corns and Calluses
As with blisters, corns and calluses are the result of repetitive rubbing or pressure. Calluses present as thickened areas of skin over pressure points, and are essentially a protective response to excessive friction. Most people have calluses to some degree and experience no symptoms at all. Only when calluses are unusually thick or become cracked do they typically cause problems. When this occurs the callus can be shaved down to restore more normal skin thickness and provide relief. Calluses commonly form on the heels and balls of the feet.
Corns are also caused by the same protective mechanism. They appear as raised and conical as opposed to broad and flat. They’re typically located on the outside of the pinkie (5th) toe, an area which is particularly prone to friction. Corns tend to be much more painful than calluses, and can be shaved down, treated with topical medications, or both.