Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hazards of Barefootery: The Plantar Wart!

Being barefoot is fun. Either you already agree with that or haven't tried it since you were nine years old. Like anything fun, you will tend to do that fun thing whenever the opportunity arises. And, in the case of strolling around without shoes, you might, for an instant, lose sight of when that opportunity for fun goes against common sense.

not walk barefoot in the locker room

For instance, most of you would agree that venturing into a thoroughly public locker room at a popular water park would necessitate some sort of footwear. But, for the sake of this parable, our hero shuns his shoe sense, because he just can't be bothered to put on his damn flip flops.

[Note themes of pride, arrogance, and stupidity].

It turns out that traipsing around a well-used locker room without shoes is pretty much the best way to acquire the virus that causes a plantar wart (not to be confused with "plantar's wart", which is not a thing) Try it sometime if you don't believe me. (I'm kidding)

You can read about plantar warts all you like on the usual websites. Basically, they're indirectly transmitted from person to person via a virus. And, plantar warts have the unique characteristic of being pushed into and under the skin as they form, because pressure from walking or running just does that.

Then, once the wart makes a nice, cozy home under the surface of your outermost skin layers, it starts to hurt whenever you put pressure on it. The wart also dispels any previous thoughts that the odd bump in your foot was just new callused skin when it suddenly displays some crackly white lacerations in a small circle on your skin.

I'll stop describing how warts appear now. Google that stuff if you're feeling brave.

Umstead trail
Here's a trail photo to clear your mind of the mental image my wart description just created.

I'm telling you this, because we runners are especially susceptible to the afflictions of an otherwise inconsequential, albeit gross, blemish. This guy knows what I'm talkin' about.

See, a plantar wart can take weeks or months to make itself known to you. And, as it grows, it tends to feel like you just have a strange bit of callus added to your foot. This sensation doesn't seem to progress. So, you (I mean me) ignore it until one day it becomes a stabbing pain in the bottom of your (my) foot. And, holy crap, that's not good!

Not Really an Injury

As we runners know, any perceived pain in our running parts immediately relays a message to the paranoia-inducing injury-o-meter in our brains, the first indicator of which is absolute denial. But, soon after denial, we start to really wonder if that pain is indeed a running injury. And, then, well, you know how the uncertainty of injury goes.

I was actually relieved when I realized that the pain in my foot was just a plantar wart, because it wasn't running-related at all! Ha!

But, just because running isn't the origin of the pain doesn't mean that the act of running is impervious to the hurt. That painful pebble of nasty under the callused ball of my foot seemed to grow with ever step I took. And, my penchant for scantily cushioned shoes didn't help. I took a day or two off to assess the situation.

Steps to Plantar Wart Situation Assessment

  1. I needed to figure out how to get rid of this plantar wart. That was easy to determine, because there are a handful of remedies discussed on the internet that people recommend. Pretty much all of the solutions to the plantar wart problem require patience. So, I chose the traditional, over-the-counter wart-patch method. (It seems to be working well)
    f-lite 195
    cushy enough for a plantar wart
  2. Then, I had to find a way to run with this painful wart. Bam! I dug out the softest shoes I have in my closet. Remarkably, the Inov-8 f-lite 195s proved cushy enough for my predicament. So, hurray! I've been running as much as I want again!

That's it, just two steps! How many pseudo-injuries do you know of that can be dealt with in just two steps? So, it's nothing to worry about. I've just gotta get over the mental anguish (and embarrassment) of having this nasty, disgusting growth in the ball of my foot.

Aside from dealing with this little virus now, I'll stay far away from public locker rooms when I'm not wearing shoes. Lesson learned!


'Course, now I'm curious how many genuine barefoot runners suffer this affliction on a regular basis. I mean, is it possible that the plantar wart was able to develop on my foot, because I wore shoes before washing off the virus germs?

But, a barefoot runner would delay putting on shoes for quite some time after contact with the virus, thereby exposing the virus to all the hazards of life outside the warm nastiness of the locker room. Would this kill the virus before it had a chance to infect the seasoned barefooter?

If you know, feel free to say so in the comments.

And, as always...

Thanks for reading!


  1. Bob Neinast has your answer!

  2. I'm betting the warm, moist confines of shoes contribute a great deal to plantar wart growth. Seems bare footers are less likely to have that problem.

  3. Plantar warts are definitely not fun! I had a huge one for 2 years and was finally able to figure out how to get rid of it using epsom salts, duct tape and salicylic acid pads. It was a real pain...

    I created a blog to show how the treatment worked for me. It's got before and after photos and all of that and goes into detail about the method I used and how it worked in case any of your readers are interested.

  4. People who have warts and use natural methods of removing them have good success rates

  5. Even as sportsmen recognize, virtually any identified discomfort in our managing pieces right away relays some text on the paranoia-inducing injury-o-meter in our mind, the 1st indication that can be complete refusal.



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