Many people suffer from painful growths on the bottom of their feet. The origins of these growths are varied. The most common growth on the bottom of the foot that may be painful is known as a callus, which is a broad layer of hard skin similar in appearance to the calluses one develops on their hands after doing labor like raking leaves.
However, some people develop small hard growths usually more than one on the bottom of their feet, many will complain they feel like they have a stone in their shoe. Although there are potentially many origins of this type of lesion including warts and intractable plantar keratoma, a very common cause of this type of growth is known as a porokeratosis.
Porokeratosis is a general term to a group of dermatological problems that occur in various parts of the body. This discussion is limited to punctate porokeratosis. These lesions are described as dozens of discrete or grouped seed-like hyperkeratotic lesions with characteristic thin, raised ridge-like margins that develop on the palms and the soles. Patients usually have other forms of porokeratosis as well, most commonly the linear or Mibelli types. Because of their description many patients will refer to them as seed corns.
These lesions generally occur on the weight bearing part of the foot which is the ball of the foot and the heel but may also occur in the mid arch. These lesions are generally not associated with any bony prominence as is the case with a callus or an intractable plantar keratoma.
These lesions are thought to be nothing more than plugged sweat glands however there is some debate as to whether this is true or not. In any event if you consider that the feet can have as many as 250,000 sweat glands it is easy to see how some of them could get "clogged" from constant friction and pressure and cause this condition to occur.
Any suspicious growth on any part of the body should be examined by a health care professional to determine if there is a possibility of malignancy. Porokeratosis are not malignant growths but should be looked at by a doctor to make sure.
The degree of discomfort a patient will experience will vary from person to person. In many people they are a non-issue but in others they can be very painful.
Factors that may exacerbate the pain include:
For this reason there are various treatments ranging from absolutely nothing to surgical excision. In cases where there is pain during ambulation most podiatrists will attempt to curette (carve out) the lesion(s) from the surrounding skin.
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