When it comes to bumps, rough patches, and other raised or discolored lesions on your skin, you’re probably less interested in semantics and more interested in simply getting rid of them!
That being said, knowing what you’re up against is an essential first step on the path toward taking the correct corrective action!
Two conditions that people sometimes get confused are warts and calluses. While they have some surface-level similarities, they are actually quite different in terms of how they develop and how you get rid of them. Avoiding confusion between the two will help you get the care you need, and hopefully avoid unnecessary discomfort (or even allowing a wart to spread)!
Let’s take a closer look at each condition. WARNING—there will be pictures. They aren’t gross, though! We promise.
A wart is a shallow viral infection of the upper layers of skin. It’s caused by various strains of the human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV.
If you touch your wart (wash your hands afterward!) and look closely at it, you will typically find that it has a bumpy texture and has a small black dot (or sometimes multiple dots) in the middle. Some people call these dots “wart seeds” or “wart roots,” but they’re actually tiny capillaries.
Here are a couple pictures of a wart under magnification so you can see what we’re talking about:
Warts are typically painful when you squeeze them along their sides. They can appear anywhere on the body, including both weightbearing and non-weightbearing areas, but they are especially common on the hands and feet.
Unfortunately, warts can multiply and spread to other parts of your body, or even in rare cases to other members of your family. And because warts only infect the top layers of skin, it takes a long time for your immune system to do anything about them on its own—sometimes several years. So, it really is in your best interest to treat them as soon as possible, even if they aren’t causing you any immediate discomfort.
A callus is an area of tough and thickened skin, often relatively long and flat in shape. The skin usually appears discolored, although the precise color (anything from an opaque yellow to white to gray to brown) depends a bit on both the severity of the callus and the natural color of your skin.
Unlike warts, calluses are not an infection and thus cannot spread. They are a natural defense mechanism that the skin uses to protect itself from developing an even worse ulcer or wound.
Here are a few choice pics to show you what we’re talking about:
Calluses only form in areas where there is excessive, constant pressure and friction. That means that, as far as feet are concerned, they are typically only found in the weightbearing areas of the heels and the balls of the feet. They may feel painful under direct pressure, but sometimes are not painful at all.
Over the long term, the best way to get rid of calluses is to eliminate the originating source of the pressure and friction, which usually (although not always!) turns out to be a lousy pair of shoes. However, sometimes the root cause is something that may require further attention, such as a bone spur or foot deformity.
If you’re still confused—or you just want to get rid of it, whatever it is—don’t worry. Dr. Kelly has you covered!
If your problem is a wart, we have a range of treatment options, from peeling medications all the way to surgical excision. We can help you decide which approach makes the most sense considering the size and number of your warts, as well your lifestyle. Plus, we’ll make sure you have all the knowledge you need to reduce your odds that more warts will appear!
If your problem is a callus, we can help with that too. We’ll figure out what caused your callus and show you how you can alleviate the pressure. Plus, we can safely smooth or otherwise thin out the callus that you already have, so that your skin looks and feels better.
And hey, if your problem turns out to be something else entirely—blister, cyst, corn, etc.—guess what? We can help with that too.
So stop being confused and start getting better! Give our office in Las Vegas a call today at 702-605-6220, or make an appointment request using our online contact form. Let’s restore that skin to a smooth, healthy appearance!