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.
Ball of the foot blisters are quite common. Often they are more common when runners change to walking. Let take a look at these blisters.
Challenges with Ball of the Foot Blisters
There are three problems with ball of the foot blisters that make them more problematic than blisters elsewhere on the foot. Look at the image and you’ll see the large amount of area it covers. And yes, there’s blood in the blister section between the big and first toe.
- They often extend up into the skin between one of more toes
- They can spread out to cover a large area side-to-side and further down to the mid-foot
- They can easily tear at the front most area at the base of the toes
Preventing Ball of the Foot Blisters
I have learned several things about preventing ball of the foot blisters
- Keep your feet as dry as possible.
- Pre-tape if you are prone to these blisters
- Check your insoles for rough surfaces and change to a smoother insole
- Make sure your shoes fit and you don’t have a lot of movement of the forefoot inside the shoe
Patching Ball of the Foot Blisters
- Drain any blister, with a slit cut where ongoing foot pressure during the foot strike will expel extra fluid out
- Patch the blister with your favorite product and tape
- Apply tape from up one side of the foot to up the other side – not too high but over the edge
- Use one or more strips to cover the problem area
- Cut a figure 8 out of a piece of tape and apply it first to the forward edge of the tape between two of the toes, and pull it between the toes, securing it on the top of the foot.
The larger these blisters, the harder they are to patch. Try to patch them before they grow into monster blisters.
Here’s a link to a page on FixingYourFeet.com about Taping for Blisters.
These photos are courtesy of Ron Jones and were taken as I patched a runner’s feet at Badwater.