A man has shared disturbing pictures of his feet as a warning to others after he learned the hard way why you should never use a public shower barefoot. (Warning: The photos below are graphic.)
According to the Daily Mail, an anonymous man sent his local radio station graphic photos of his feet before and after he had skin graft surgery to heal open wounds that developed due to a flesh-eating infection he got from using a public shower without wearing shoes.
The man explained what happened in an email to KTBZ:
It started while I was training for my first ever half marathon. Over my lunch break, I would make a point to go to my local gym and run for a bit. I had never ran such a long distance before, so I wanted to make sure I was ready. Normally, I would make sure that I had all of the necessary supplies in my gym bag for after my run. There were a few occasions where I left out my flip flops that I would use when I showered, but not wanting to go back to work sweaty and smelly I made the decision to shower barefoot.
Within a fairly short amount of time, I noticed there was a spot on the bottom of my foot that began to itch. when I touched it, it was a bit harder that the rest of the flesh around it, but I didn’t think anything of it. I figured I had just stepped on something and it was my body’s response to the foreign object. I quickly found out that I had contracted a plantar wart on the bottom of my foot.
Not wanting to impact my training, I let it go and tried to treat it using any remedy I could find online. I tried duct tape, banana peels, vinegar, and OTC acid treatments with no success. It wasn’t until after my run approximately 6 months later that I went and saw someone.
What occurs next is some of the worst pain I have felt, and something that I have endured for over a year. My doctor started treating my wart with cantharidin, an agent made from a beetle that causes the area it comes in contact with to blister. The idea is to get your body to recognize that it is trying to fight something and to kill the infection naturally. Every week I would go to the doctor, have the agent applied, have my foot blister and be in pain for the next few days. Each week the doctor would cut away the blistered skin, and apply it on the fresh skin underneath.
This went on for a few months, and the virus decided it would spread. One wart quickly turned into 5. When the treatments no longer worked, I moved to another doctor closer to my house. I went through the same treatments, but at a much higher concentration. My entire foot would swell and the pain was so bad, I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even put my leg down as the blood rushing to my foot would cause the skin to swell and put me in excruciating pain.
I decided I had enough and underwent voluntary surgery. I had surgery in February and last week was the first time I was able to put my foot in a shoe. I have not been able to go to the gym, and have been riding around on a knee scooter due to the open wounds on my foot. I underwent a skin graft trial (grafts made from North Atlantic Cod!) and things are finally starting to close up.”
The anonymous man credits the skin grafting surgery with saving his feet.
He wanted to share his story as a way to warn others not to make the same mistake he did.
“It will most likely be another month before I’m able to walk properly and start really getting back into the swing of things,” the man wrote. “Do yourself a favor, wear shoes in any public area where there is water. This virus thrives in those areas. The scary thing is, the virus can live for over two years on the surfaces as well. Take care of your feet so they can take care of you.”