Part I of this story on August 22 was The Wart Story. It tells what Brad did to get rid of a stubborn wart on the bottom of his heel. He tried a lot of treatments and ended up having it excised through surgery. After I posted the story, Brad emailed with a follow-up. I’ll let Brad tell Part II. (If you scroll down, you’ll get to Part I).
It’s now been 4-1/2 years since the surgery described in your Aug 22, 2012 posting. The wart in that area was completely removed, however, there is a fair amount of scar tissue. I normally don’t notice it unless I rub the area, or very rarely when walking barefoot. During my pre-op visit, I was told to expect this common side effect. It has the feeling of a large callous.
Now flash forward about three years: I’ve been wearing thongs in public showers, but I live in my Tevas sandles, I can’t give up beach volleyball, and occasionally go outside barefoot to bring the garbage cans in. And unfortunately ended up with another wart. My doctor and I decided to try the blistering agent again. (He said the compound was derived from beetles, so I’m guessing it might have been antharidin.)
It’s a simple liquid that is applied with a Q-tip directly onto the affected area and surrounding tissue, and within several hours it produces a large fluid-filled blister. The pressure of the fluid in the blister causes a fair amount of pain, so after 24 hours, I was instructed to lance the blister to relieve the pressure. (Thanks, John, for providing useful and safe lancing techniques! )
The idea behind this treatment is that the blistering agent essentially kills the underlying tissue including the diseased sections, and then the blister sloughs off normally. During the previous attempts, by the time the tissue sloughed off, the remaining bits of the wart had gone deeper and we were never able to completely remove it, thus the surgery.
For the latest wart, I had the idea to simply remove the roof of the blister (hopefully along with the diseased tissue), and repeat as soon as possible until the wart was gone. I discussed it with my doctor and we decided to proceed. This technique worked quite well. I went through three rounds of treatments, about 9 days apart, and was wart-free in just under a month.
Each treatment was similar. The solution was applied at the doctor’s office. The blister formed in about 4 hours.
I lanced and drained the blister, then cut around the borders of the tissue to remove the roof. Then I just treated the area as a regular blister without its roof: Neosporin and a large bandage. I changed the bandage regularly until it was no longer oozing. By this point, I could see how much of the wart remained, and then made another appointment. Of course, I watched very carefully for any signs of infection. As an orienteer (cross-country running/navigation), I’ve had many blisters rub off during competitions, so this was nothing new for me.
It’s been one year since the treatments, and there is no visible or tactile reminder. Comparing the surgery to this approach, it’s a no-brainer which I would prefer. For surgery, I was under general anesthesia and then on Tylenol/codeine for several days, it took about two months to heal the excised depression, I had to get a temporary Disabled Parking Placard, and I still have scar tissue. For the blistering agent, I had about 6 days (2 days x 3 treatments) of a raw open wound, but it usually didn’t hurt after that, and no scars.
I’ve attached two pictures for comparison.
My comment: In each picture you can see the wart in the center. It’s important to understand what Brad says about how the two treatments differ. If you have had warts and tried over the counter treatments, without success, Brad’s story can help you.
I’d bet most of us think we are immune to warts. Or we simply never think about them.
But we can pick them up in communal showers at the gym, the local pool, or anywhere where people go barefoot.I found an email where the sender told the story of his wart – and included a picture. Here is Brad’s story.
I used to be that guy who didn’t wear shoes. I played volleyball barefoot. Went around the house/yard barefoot. Took showers at the gym barefoot. I’m not sure where it happened, but somewhere I picked up a wart. Not just any wart, but the wart that wouldn’t respond to any treatment kind.
Did the salicylic drops. Moved to salicylic acid patches. Then to the podiatrist: three rounds of blistering agents, four rounds of bleomycin injections. While waiting for surgery, did the duct tape method. Needless to say, nothing worked, and the wart just kept growing and shooting off satellites. Finally, after an incision of about 3 cms wide by several mms deep, and 7 weeks of recovery later, I think I’m finally wart free.
Needless to say, at least in the gym showers and other questionable patches of real estate, I’m keeping my thongs (zorries) on, thank you very much…
So there you have it. It could happen to you if you are not careful. Wear clogs, flip-flops, or sandals in common areas. Check your feet after showering for any signs of a wart beginning. Then take care of them before they become too large for localized over the counter treatments.
If you think about how this would affect your training and running/hiking/walking, you’ll be careful in communal areas.
My library includes most of the books about feet and foot care. Many are old and are no longer in print. Every so often a new one is released.
I was recently sent a copy of The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes by L. Daniel Howell. Mr. Howell, PhD, has a doctoral degree in biochemistry and teaches human anatomy and physiology at Liberty University in Virginia. His bio states that he is an avid barefoot runner with more than 2000 shoeless miles on his feet, and leads a barefoot hiking group. All this gives him credibility to write the book. Hunter House Publishers published the book in 2010.
The premise of The Barefoot Book is that feet and shoes are at odds with each other. The author promotes a barefoot lifestyle and the subtitle, 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes, supports his cause – to get readers to shed their shoes.
The book starts with a chapter that covers a short history of how shoes came to be. Chapter 2, “Living Barefoot,” shares the stories of 10 people who have to live a life barefoot. I liked how chapter 3 went into detail about the foot and how it works. It was very informative and helpful, especially if the reader has little knowledge of the structure, form, and function of the foot.
The title, of chapter 4, What Your Shoes are Doing to You, carries forward the author’s premise that shoes are bad for you. Readers learn a bit about the history of shoes and their construction and purpose; a lot about how shoes change the way stand, walk, run and feel the ground; followed by a discussion of negative conditions and injuries common to feet.
I found it interesting that the Howell would devote almost all of chapter 5 to the effects of high-heeled shoes, and a short bit of dress and work shoes. Chapter 6 is informative as we learn about the ways shoes affect children. All parents should read this chapter.
I loved chapter 7 where time was spent on walking, running, and hiking barefoot. This is a worthwhile subject given today’s interest in going minimalist or shoeless. People wanting to try running and hiking barefoot, especially, need information on how to start out (slowly) and what to pay attention to. Howell does a good job of imparting this important information. Too many people want to try barefoot and do too much too soon, and become injured – so this is an important chapter.
Chapter 9 offers alternatives in footwear for the times when one cannot go barefoot but want to be as minimalist as possible.
Chapter 10, Getting Out There, starts with 11 ways you can start towards a barefoot lifestyle. The second half of the chapter deals with common hurdles, working barefoot, businesses, cold conditions, and social pressure. All helpful information.
I loved chapter 11, Mythbusters, where Howell debunks seven common myths about going barefoot. A few include driving barefoot, OSHA and the “bare feet prohibited” warnings, barefoot dangers, and barefoot liability. It was fun reading.
For those interested in liabilities, the appendix lists five pages of a sampling of lawsuits where shoes were essential to the cause of the lawsuit.
So, were there actually 50 reasons to kick off your shoes and go barefoot? Yes. For a while, I kept paging through the book looking for an organized list. There was none. Then I discovered that throuought the book, on the outside of the page, there was an outline of a barefoot. In the big toe outline was a number, 1 -50, and then inside the foot was a reason. Very cleverly done.
At 156 pages, this is a fairly quick read. Listed at $12.95, the book is inexpensive. Amazon has it even cheaper.
I recommend The Barefoot Book for those interested in trying the barefoot lifestyle. One could argue that we all need to try it – and Howell does just that – and does it well. My only reservation is that there is an obvious bias that shoes are bad for your feet. That said, Howell backs up his statements with facts that are hard to argue with. Read the book in the context of your lifestyle and make your own choices. Me? I love going barefoot – at times. In fact, I think I’ll try hiking barefoot this summer.
Here is a link to buy the book through Amazon. Amazon also has a “Click to Look Inside” the book feature so you can take a peak.
The book also has its own website, The Barefoot Book.
Disclosure, buying through the above link will credit me a few pennies.
When I posted the piece the other day about going barefoot I remembered a great new footwear that was important to tell readers about. I saw these last summer at the Outdoors Show in Salt Lake City and I almost missed them because they seemed strange. But, they are the right footwear for those wanting a barefoot experience but also wanting to protect their feet.
FiveFingers is the first and only footwear to offer the exhilarating freedom of going barefoot—with the protection and surefooted grip of a Vibram sole. These are great for those wanting the feeling of going barefoot—with protection. Toss them in your backpack for walking around camp after a day of hiking. Use them for walking, running, hiking, boating, kayaking, canoeing, canyoneering, coastal approach, and after-sport recovery.
FiveFinger gives you a gecko-like grip on slippery surfaces. They protect your tender feet from scorching sand and sharp rocks. They allow you to go barefoot—without leaving yourself exposed.
The Fivefingers Web site says, You were born barefoot and FiveFingers encourages you to walk that way. With little to them, they enhance your natural walking motion, gently spreading your toes to strengthen foot muscles, increase your range of motion, and improve general foot health. The muscles in the feet and lower legs are stimulated for greater balance, agility and strength. Because you are more aware of how you walk and your stride, they help straighten your spine, improves posture, and reduces lower back pain.
If you have any doubts about how durable they are, check out the Web site of Barefoot Ted. He typically runs marathons barefoot. Lately, he has used Fivefingers for the LA and Boston marathons. Here is his Boston photo. For those who don’t know the distance, that’s 26.2 miles of asphalt in Fivefingers. If they can hold up to that, they will work for whatever you toss at them. He gives a good report on how Fivefingers worked for him.
I plan on picking up a pair this summer. They look like fun. On the Fivefingers Web site the price is $70.00 and they are available in a variety of colors. Still not convinced? Here are to more Web sites with reviews. The first is Meraner Land and the second is from a site called I.D.
FiveFingers footwear was the brainchild of industrial designer Robert Fliri. He proposed the idea to Marco Bramani, grandson of Vibram founder Vitale Bramani, who invented the first rubber soles used on mountaineering boots in 1936.
More people are going barefoot then ever before. On a recent business trip to San Antonio, being a people watcher and a foot watcher, I couldn’t help but notice how frequently people go barefoot. Many people are taking this a bit further than I’d choose to do. I noticed several people walking barefoot through the hotel lobby. This was a large upscale hotel in downtown San Antonio. Then I noticed someone in the airport walking around the terminal in bare feet. On the plane coming home were several people in their seats with bare feet. One young lady walked up and down the aisle and into the plane’s lavatory in bare feet.
Lest you think that going barefoot is only for walking and runners, consider the group Barefoot Hikers. Barefoot Chris (his trail name), a member of Barefoot Hikers, recalls the shocked reaction of hikers they encountered while on a weeklong barefoot backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. They heard stories of many other barefoot hikers, including at least two that had done the entire trail without shoes. Those interested in exploring the outdoors barefoot should check out and the Society for Running Barefoot and Barefoot Living. The book The Barefoot Hiker by Richard Frazine is about hiking barefoot. Barefoot Hikers have chapters in many states.
I met Ken Bob, the founder of Running Barefoot, when I was in Los Angeles last month. He was going to run the LA Marathon the next day–barefoot. Nice guy. I like the quote he has on his website from Stephanie Tourleson, the author of Natural Foot Care, "The best treatment for feet encased in shoes all day is to go barefoot. One-fifth of the world’s population never wears shoes, ever! But when people, who usually go barefoot, wear shoes, their feet begin to suffer. As often as possible, walk barefoot on the beach, in your yard, or at least around the house. Walking in the grass or sand massages your feet, strengthens your muscles and feels very relaxing. If you can cut back on wearing shoes by 30 percent, you will save wear and tear on your feet and extend the life of your shoes."
When venturing barefoot onto trails or even pavement, you should take a few precautions. Start slowly with short barefoot excursions to give your feet time to adjust. Your feet are used to the support and cushioning of shoes, and going without will make a sudden change. Be attentive to the conditions of the path underfoot. Your feet can be cut or punctured by debris on the road or trail. If you want to run barefoot, start by walking. This strengthens the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the feet and ankles.
Walking and running barefoot can be an excellent way to condition your feet in order to prevent blisters when you do wear boots or shoes. Your skin will be tougher and you may develop calluses. Yet, be forewarned—this is no guarantee that you will not get blisters! Blisters under skin-toughened calluses can take four to six weeks to heal, significantly longer than the usual two weeks it takes a normal blister to heal.
Aside from the possibility of cutting your feet on glass or metal, if you have any cuts or open skin on your feet you take the risk of picking up an infection. Another concern is skin that calluses over. These calluses can split into fissures, or cracks in the skin. This opens the inner layers of skin to a greater risk of infection. If you step on something sharp and get a puncture wound, seek medical care. Puncture wounds typically close up and this seals any debris, germs, or contaminants inside the wound. If you choose to go barefoot it’s smart to take care of your feet. There is no point in getting an infection through carelessness.
It’s OK to go barefoot, in fact it is fun and refreshing and makes your feet happy.
I just returned from a conference in San Antonio and have to share a few thoughts on bare feet. Being a people watcher and a foot watcher, I couldn’t help but notice how frequently people go barefoot. Now, mind you, I have no objection to being barefoot. In fact I’m barefoot as I write this post. However many people are taking this a bit farther than I’d choose to do.
I noticed several people walking barefoot through the hotel lobby. This was a large upscale hotel in downtown San Antonio. Around the lobby, in the elevator, and through the hotel’s public areas—it didn’t matter where. Then I noticed someone in the airport walking around the terminal in bare feet. On the plane coming home were several people in their seats with bare feet. One young lady walked up and down the aisle and into the plane’s lavatory in bare feet.
A great and informative website on going barefoot is Barefooters.org. This is the home of the Society for Barefoot Living. Give the site a look. There is a wealth of information and a state by state listing of regulations and correspondence about going barefoot.
What Barefooters.org wants you to know is these four points:
• It is healthy for your feet to go barefoot.
• It is not against the law to go barefoot into any kind of establishment including restaurants.
• It is also not against any health department regulation.
• It is not against the law to drive barefoot.
Several other sites are worth reading too. Parents for Barefoot Children is a great site for parents wondering how going barefoot affects their children. Natural and Healthy Barefoot Activities is also informative and includes a page of barefoot gymnastics.
Besides the possibility of cutting your feet on glass or metal, if you have any cuts or open skin on your feet, you take the risk of picking up an infection. Another concern to be watchful for is skin that calluses over. These calluses can split into fissures, cracks in the skin. This opens the inner layers of skin to a greater risk of infection. If you step on something sharp and get a puncture wound, seek out medical care. Puncture wounds typically close up and this seals any debris, germs, or contaminants inside the wound.
If you choose to go barefoot in public places, it’s smart to know the law. It’s also smart to take care of your feet. There is no point in getting an infection through carelessness.