If you think that the human body is really very gross and people talking about brushing their teeth is TMI already, you won’t like this post. Although it certainly pays to be informed about the subject, so I suggest you read it anyway. (No pictures. I do have some standards.)
My painful heel has remained painful after three weeks of anti-inflammatories and heel cushions, so I went back to my doctor (as per his instructions). He poked at the heel, said «Hmm, this is weird», whipped out a scalpel, sliced some of the callus off and found the problem: a plantar wart. Yes, I know, ewwwwww.
At that point I realised that my knowledge about warts was pretty much limited to «warts=ew», so I asked my doctor and then read up on them.
Turns out warts are caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. (Definitely not toads FYI.) Most of the over 150 strains of HPV will give you harmless lesions and warts. Some select few will cause growths that will metastatise into your bone and kill you given half a chance. The biological female part of the population probably knows HPV from everyone’s favourite routine medical test, the Pap smear.
Caused by a harmless strain of the virus, plantar warts have nothing to do with any unpleasant testing procedures or premature deaths. They are still contagious, although not particularly so. If you have one, it’s probably a good idea wear shoes, socks or tape in the studio and locker room so you don’t infect others. Fortunately for my peers, I’ve been doing all my classes in ballet slippers for several months now.
To prevent warts, the recommendations are simple: Avoid going barefoot, injuring the skin (entry point for the virus) and overly soggy or sweaty feet. Plantar warts take a long time to grow, so it’s unlikely you will be able to pinpoint the infection to a specific event. Apparently, some people are more susceptible than others. Treatment options range from «do absolutely nothing» through freezing the bastard or burning it off with acid (with proper materials and instruction, preferably done by a doctor. Important detail here.) to cutting it out, which, I gather, is more of a last resort. As usual, a number of alternative home remedies of highly questionable effectivenes and/or safety exists.
Allegedly, most plantar warts resolve on their own within a year or two. Since mine, as Mayo Clinic puts it, «interferes with activities», I have to visit my doctor for cryotherapy treatments every two weeks until further notice. I had the first treatment yesterday, so now there’s a hole in my heel. Doc warned me it might become more painful at first, and lo and behold, it did. My diclofenac prescription has been rescinded – he gave it to me since he initially suspected plantar fasciitis or something similar. No inflammation – no anti-inflammatories – more pain. I would ordinarily be very upset about this, except my doctor recommended I wear cushioned shoes at all times, even at home or, if possible, when dancing.
Which, my dears, is perfect. Because I finally found it, the long sought-after, coveted, elusive excuse to buy… DANCE SNEAKERS!!!
I’ve had an unquenchable desire for split-sole sneakers since I first saw the Bloch Wave Sneakers at the local ballet shop. I raked my brain for even a threadbare justification to buy a pair, but to no avail: Those are definitely not the shoes for ballet and modern, hardly anyone in my jazz class wears any shoes at all and you can’t really use them as street shoes. So I kinda gave up on the pretty things.
Until now. Since I’m off pain meds, I have already developed a minor stiffness in my right ankle and some diffuse knee pain from trying not to step on my heel. Therefore, it is quite obvious that I need to acquire those sneakers immediately in order to prevent further injury. Right? Right. Plus, our jazz floor is very much un-sprung, so a bit of cushioning might not actualy be a bad idea.
I still haven’t decided if I’ll just wear them at home, do jazz in them or maybe try to sneak them (sorry) into modern rehearsal. I know, I know – sacrilege!!! My heel really hurts though.