A Texas man caught a grave flesh-eating infection after showering barefoot at the gym.
The man, who has not been named, says what he originally thought was a singular wart grew to five, spreading across his foot and developing open wounds.
Despite trying everything to heal it, the wounds only continued to grow.
Now having undergone skin graft surgery, using fish scales, the man says he’s sharing his photos to warn others of the dangers that live on shower floors.
A listener of The Rod Ryan Show on KTBZ-FM The Buzz, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent an email to the show about why you should always wear shoes in public showers, along with some pictures of his ordeal.
The man was training for a marathon at his local gym and would make a point to go train during his lunch breaks.
‘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,’ he said.
Soon, the man noticed there was a spot at the bottom of his left foot, harder than the rest of the flesh, that began to itch but he didn’t think anything of it.
He was told he had a plantar wart – a benign foot tumor caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
‘Not wanting to impact my training, I let it go and tried to treat it using any remedy I could find online,’ he said.
‘I tried duct tape, banana peels, vinegar, and OTC (over-the-counter) acid treatments with no success. It wasn’t until after my run approximately six months later that I went and saw someone.’
The man says that the doctor he saw began to treat the wart with cantharidin, an agent made from a beetle that causes the area it comes in contact with to blister.
The agent attempts to get your body to recognize that it is trying to fight an infection and to kill it naturally.
Every week, the doctor would cut away the blistered skin and apply the ointment onto the fresh skin.
One wart on the man’s foot turned into five warts. The same treatments were tried, but at a much higher concentration, which caused the man’s foot to swell
The man finally decided to undergo surgery and received a skin graft in February 2017 (pictured is his foot with the skin cut out for the grafts)
One wart on the man’s foot turned into five warts and the virus took over, developing several open wounds. The same treatments were tried, but at a much higher concentration, which caused the man’s foot to swell and unable to be placed down on the floor
It’s been two months since the surgery and he says he will need at least one month before he can walk properly.
Now, he says, he’s warning people to not make the same mistake he made.
‘Do yourself a favor, wear shoes in any public area where there is water. This virus thrives in those areas,’ the man said.
‘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.’