Plantar warts, callouses and athletes foot



Figure 13‑1: Topical foot conditions that can cause foot pain.


FOOT PAIN can be caused by surface conditions on the skin or just below the skin (Figure 13-1), not just musculoskeletal conditions.


Plantar Wart

If you have focal foot pain with walking, check for a grainy growth on the sole of your foot. The pain may be from walking on a plantar wart. Plantar warts are typically found on the bottom (the plantar aspect) of your foot. Hence, the name plantar warts.  

Warts are caused by a virus.  We are all exposed to such viruses, but a healthy immune system fights them off. Most people who develop warts do so during a time of stress, during which their immune system is compromised, allowing the virus to flourish and warts to develop. 

If your pain is from a wart, the wart will often go away on its own. I believe the more attention you give the wart, the more it grows. Countless patients have sworn that putting a small piece of duct tape on the wart for a few weeks until it goes away gets rid of the wart. They believe they are suffocating the wart. I believe it works because they believe it will work and gets their mind off of it.

Warts are a sign of stress. Stress weakens the immune system, allowing the virus to flourish. Then the wart becomes a stressor itself. 

The triad of wellness—sleep well, eat well, and move well—is the answer.


Another possible cause of a focal pain in the foot is a callus. A callus is a thickening of the skin in response to extra pressure.  Just like our bones, skin also thickens in response to extra stress.  

The formation of a callus can a sign of improper foot biomechanics, and orthotics may be necessary.  Wearing orthotics takes the pressure away so the skin stops thickening in that area.

A callus doesn’t hurt on its own, but if it is hard and large enough, it may exert enough pressure on the foot tissue to cause pain (like a pebble would in your shoe).  

You can remove a callus by soaking your feet in warm water for 10–20 minutes, scrubbing it off with a pumice stone, and applying moisturizer on the region of the callus daily. You can also go to a pedicurist to have the callus professionally removed with a pedicure. 

Severe cases may require a podiatrist to burn them off or surgically remove them.  A podiatrist may also address the foot condition that is causing the callus to form. 

Athlete’s foot

Another condition that can irritate your feet is athlete’s foot (a fungal infection), but this typically is itchy, not painful. Fungus likes to grow in dark, moist regions, and if your feet are often sweaty, it is a prime location for fungal growth.  Keeping your feet dry and clean helps prevent athlete’s foot. Applying antifungal creams and powders may also be warranted. Oil of oregano can be used topically as an anti-fungal, but dilute it properly as it can burn the skin. Do a spot test first to make sure it does not cause an allergic reaction.

If you have any cause to believe your foot pain is due to a topical condition, seek the advice of a healthcare professional. If warranted, they can refer you to a dermatologist.

If you are here in Bloomington, Indiana, schedule with us and we can help you determine what is wrong with your foot (or feet), help you address it naturally or refer you to the best medical specialist for your specific needs.

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Drummond Chiropractic, LLC
Foot Specialists
565 N Walnut St 
Bloomington, IN 47404

(812) 336 - 2423


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