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By Wylie
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 10, 2013
Whitney Portal
Anybody out there know how to get rid of this?

I used to get it only at Indian Creek. A hole would form inbetween my pinky and ring toe on one foot. The only way I could manage to avoid it is to put something inbetween those toes day and night whenever I didn't have to wear shoes to air it out. Now I've had it off and on for months and can't seem to get rid of it.

Any insight?

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By CJC
May 10, 2013
YGD

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 10, 2013
Horseman
Is it a corn - did it ever stick out, or a corn that has been picked off or popped? If so get Dr. Scholl's corn remover, the one with the cushion, or even up the skin w/ nail clippers. Is it painful, or painful only when you press on it? It's really quite hard to determine what "hole" this is w/o a pic. Maybe it's a fallen off wart? But my bet is it's a "soft toe corn." That is a common place for a corn to form. You get it from friction by squeezed toes from shoes that are too tight, such as rock climbing shoes and wedging your toes in the cracks. As for just one foot, are you stuffing that foot in more? sometimes it's a one foot thing b/c one foot is slightly bigger than the other.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert or podiatrist, I just surf the web a lot.

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By Cor
May 10, 2013
black nasty
I have a friend who has had this issue on and off for years now.
He has been to a few doctors, so he probably has some good knowledge...

Hopefully he chimes in, as I don't want to just throw 'em under the bus! ;)


Bump!

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By Wylie
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 10, 2013
Whitney Portal
I have always thought that it was due to pressure and the tissue dying from being squeezed to much. I only get it on my left foot which is slightly larger than the right and only from crack climbing. I have met numerous people who get the same thing but every one of them swears it is either bacteria or a fungus, but even when I keep my feet very clean (wash and sanitize them twice a day) it happens unless I constantly put something inbetween them to separate the toes and keep the area dry. Yes, the tissue around the area dies. I have never heard of a "soft toe corn" but that sounds right. It only becomes painful if the hole becomes very deep.

I've been given a dozen different remedies from people but seperating them is the only one that seems to work. It's easy to do on a road trip but since I've become a city dweller it's hard to accomplish as bare feet aren't very welcome and I can't wear sandals.

Thanks for the info!

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By Wylie
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 10, 2013
Whitney Portal
YGD? I'm not so savvy on the net slang.

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By frankstoneline
May 10, 2013
Wylie wrote:
YGD? I'm not so savvy on the net slang.


"yer gunna die"
If it's bacterial or fungal you might try an anti-microbial foot powder/insole/sock. I think they say bamboo is naturally anti microbial, so pairing a thin bamboo containing sock with looser shoes and a microbe munching insole might help.

Maybe using something that kills bugs like neosporin and a bandaid and changing it out every couple hours when you're wearing shoes too?

If all else fails, crocs?

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By MC Poopypants
May 10, 2013
Dropping a deuce
Use a piece of lambs wool between the toes.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 10, 2013
Horseman
You're welcome! It really does sounds like a soft toe corn, which is not a big deal, it's like a concentrated blister. Thats why separating your toes works, it helps relieve the rubbing. The corn remover by Dr. Scholls not only cushions your toes and you can wear it in your shoes, but it also has a light salycylic acid to even up the skin so it's not so drastic a hole.

I think you noticed a hole because after the rubbed skin around it died and sloughed off, the fluid cushion middle drained and leaves a "hole." But corns are much smaller than other blisters and you won't notice water seepage (and often less water, thicker skin proportionately to its diameter than blisters). You would never think you'd get a blister there because it's not a part that "rubs" on a shoe, and is protected by other toes. But, the bones on toes are narrow at the point they meet the foot, then get a bit wider as they extend away from the foot (then narrower, reminds me of a peanut), and those widest part of the bones get squeezed together and move back and forth slightly against each other, causing friction, and that corn.

I sound like I have a foot fetish or something. But I don't, I've been thru the corn thing in that same spot between my pinky & "ring" toe, not from climbing. My profile pic is a picture of my feet in socks. If you notice my feet are very small - I wear a size 33 EU in la sportiva mythos. But also notice they are very wide, they are as wide as my friend's and she has a size 42 EU foot, mine are flat too, so I have duck-shaped feet. Add to that I am very short, so I wear 4" heels every day, and my wide toes are squeezed from the sides, and support a lot of weight as well because my feet are at a steep angle with the weight concentrated at the toes.

Your friends are probably guys or don't have experience w/ this issue. A fungus spreads without treatment, not stay the same over months. Athlete's foot gives you thick yellow toenails and peeling feet, ringworm is shaped like a ring and is visible as a reddish ring but not a hole (and I think ringworm is mostly on the torso). Bacteria would be a festering wound, becuase bacteria is the definition of a non-healing infection, it would be raw and open, it might smell, and there would be pain even without pressure because the bacteria is "eating" your tissues. And of course what you describe is not a wart, because it sticks out and you would recognize its cauliflower appearance.

The good news for your friends is that a corn is NOT contagious like warts, bacteria, and fungi!

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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
May 10, 2013
I have a recurring soft corn. As diagnosed by my doctor. It only seems to occur when I am in my rock shoes for a couple of days of warm weather. Quite painful. Sometimes, I'll put a little Molefoam between those toes to keep them apart.

Other than that, not much you can do. The corn remover acid doesn't work for me and the doctor said it could be cut out but would likely grow back.

Not sure what you mean by a "hole," as my corn is more of a growth, similar to a blister but harder.

Now you know all about my feet. Exciting!

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By Wylie
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 10, 2013
Whitney Portal
I'm glad I posted this because what you've written, Caprinae monkey, makes total sense. Everyone is always trying to to tell me it's some kind of microbe but none of the signs or symptoms quite matched up. I too have VERY fat feet I call duck's feet too. Size 9 EE, so my poor pigs get smashed to hell in climbing shoes as I have to chose shoes to fit based off the length. You ever tried Acopas? They're out of business now, but there's still some around here and there on clearance. Especially the small sizes. They fit fat feet the best of any I've ever worn.

Thanks a ton!

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By Thomas Beck
From Las Vegas, Nevada
May 10, 2013
beck on limestone
I had that separation for years. I also have a left ankle which is fused.
The bones in the feet compensated ...especially during jamming cracks or walking off long sloping dome descents. My solution was a bit of cotton, some Calendula ointment or gel and tape the two adjacent toes to splint the small toe.

Eventually disappeared. But I not doing a lot of pure crack climbing or descending off Tuolomne type domes so much lately.

Meanwhile treat it like an open wound and keep it clean. Sandals help keep it dry if you are not walking around in sand and dirt.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 11, 2013
Horseman
ok Wylie, don't get shoe envy now... cuz i saw your post asking if anyone had some Acopas in your size, but I just picked up some womens in 4 & 4.5. The womens style didn't get as good reviews as the mens, but for less than the price of a resole I figured there's really nothing to lose, well, not even that, because I can return them.

I'm also thinking of trying a men's in 4, it might be a bit loose but I usually wear socks. I'm defn not in the aggressive shoe camp, when I can't bear to be on my feet then the day is done.

So, a good day had by all! (with the exception of Thomas' fused left ankle). I'm glad I was able to offer an over-the-web diagnosis that appears right, and thank you! for pointing me to those shoes especially because they're limited to the unsold stock. It seems like there is a pretty big following, I'm sorry you haven't found any in your size. I guess this is one time I'm glad my feet are so short!

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 11, 2013
Horseman
I've heard good things about Tenayas, created by another Boreal offshoot, especially about how comfortable they are while giving performance. Did you try those?

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By Wylie
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 13, 2013
Whitney Portal
Never tried a Boreal or heard or Tenayas. I'll keep an eye out for them.

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By slim
Administrator
May 13, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Cor wrote:
I have a friend who has had this issue on and off for years now. He has been to a few doctors, so he probably has some good knowledge... Hopefully he chimes in, as I don't want to just throw 'em under the bus! ;) Bump!



for a handful of years i had this really bad on my left foot, between the pinky and ring toes. i did a lot of crack climbing at the time, particularly in the desert.

i thought it was athlete's foot and tried all sorts of shit. then i went to a dermatolagist and he said it was a bacterial or fungal infection (can't remember which type but it was evident with ultraviolet light if i remember correctly). tried a bunch of shit to get rid of it, no dice. the dermatologist was going to cut it out, but at the last minute i bailed.

i went to a sport's podiatrist in boulder (the weber twins, highly recommended). she was very familiar with the problem. my left toes develop a corn there because of the joints grinding the skin together. so, we cut all of the dead skin out. let it dry out for a couple weeks (ie no climbing, wore flip flops).

she also taught me a trick to prevent it, and it has been very successful for me. cut out 2 squares of thick moleskin (approx 3/4" x 3/4" for my sixe of toes). put one on the inside of the pinky toe, facing the ring toe. take a strip of athletic tape and do one wrap around this toe. then, put the other moleskin square on the inside of the ring toe, facing the pinky toe. take another strip of athletic tape and wrap it around this toe. these two wraps of athletic tape secure the moleskin to the individual toes. finally, take a strip of athletic tape and wrap it around both of the toes.

since i started doing this i have been on many crack climbing trips where i have climbed up to 9 straight days without a problem. hopefully it works for you.

i also have a friend who had surgery to file down his toe knuckle bones to prevent them from grinding the corn. it sounds like this has worked for him, but he had to take a few months off from climbing.

hope this helps, good luck - i know what a pain in the ass those little buggers are!

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By Wylie
From Flagstaff, AZ
May 21, 2013
Whitney Portal
Follow up:

Since the original post I decided to take action with the toe situation with great success. The method that works for me is simple. At all times I keep a small piece of cotton (about 1/3 of a cotton ball) in between the 2 toes, even while sleeping, with socks on to keep the cotton in place. Each time before I put my climbing shoes on I place a pinch of loose chalk between the toes. Major healing occurred within days and now everything is right as rain.

So, not fungus or bacteria. I have always kept my feet very clean. "Soft Corn" it was, but no more.

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By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
May 22, 2013
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me? Hint, its on Supercrack Buttress
I have the same problem, and I also thought it was some wacky fungus that only appeared after crack climbing.

As others have mentioned, a sports doctor correctly diagnosed it simply as a wound that opens up because of pressure between the toes. Specifically, because of a bony protrusion between my toes that, after enough crack climbing, starts breaking down the skin

He suggest putting a small strip of lambs wool between the toes, and voila - problem solved... mostly. After two weeks of straight crack cimbing it will appear again, but this greatly delays it.

amazon.com/LAMBS-WOOL-PREMIER-...

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 24, 2013
Horseman
Wylie, I'm glad the internet diagnosis helped you solve your worrisome problem! Yeah, it is a relief to know you only had a "soft corn" caused by friction and not something contagious or scary, like flesh eating bacteria or a fungus that won't go away.

Follow up for me: Thanks a billion for the Acopa tip. Looking through this forum, they seem to be highly sought after shoes, and even more so with the entire brand no longer being made. Lucky for me, I have a foot size that they made the shoes in, but that no one else seems to have. I wasn't able to get my hands on the JB, but was able to get the last shoe on just about every other model. The boxes were slightly dusty but the shoes felt solid and hug my feet. They run small to my benefit. It was either fit one pair the Women's Aurora in 4 /4.5 womens or alllll the Mens shoes in 4 & 4.5 men size. You don't even want to know how many pairs of shoes I snapped up ...

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By kennoyce
From Layton, UT
May 24, 2013
Climbing at the Gallery in Red Rocks
slim wrote:
... so, we cut all of the dead skin out. let it dry out for a couple weeks (ie no climbing, wore flip flops).


I've never been to a doctor about this issue, but it always goes away after letting it dry out. Generally I will try to wear flip flops, pour a little isopropal alcohol on it a couple of times per day, and it will go away after a few days. The toe hole will then stay gone until I decide to do a bunch of crack again.

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By Crotch Robbins
May 24, 2013
I also get soft corns in the same place, particularly when climbing long routes in warmish weather, spending 14+ hours in my climbing shoes day after day. Larger climbing shoes and toe socks helped. Even around town now, I wear toe socks that provide a bit of cushioning between the pinky and ring toe.

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By eric schweitzer
From Bend, Oregon
Jan 3, 2014
SITTING ATOP THE CHIEF
Here is my toe hole experience: I got it 5 years ago on a month-long trip to Indian Creek. It was most likely contracted due to a combination of bad foot hygiene, not enough rest days (for my feet), and too much splitter hand crack type climbing (where the pinky toe in particular takes a beating). Its quite possible that the dessert environment also has a unique fungus that thrives in this particular area of the body. I've had toe hole ever since that road trip. A doctor i saw, many people I talk to, and my own gut feeling all tell me that i'll NEVER get rid of it.

It was theorized in some comments above that toe hole is not fungal. One way to tell if yours is fungal is by smell, as fungus has a very distinctive odor. While atheletes foot seems to be a fungus that spreads to various parts of the foot, my toe hole fungus has never spread outside of its comfy little home next to the pinky toe.

I treat my toe-hole succesfully by:

1. applying anti fungal creme a couple times a week (daily during climbing road trips). 2. removing dead skin that builds up in that area with sand paper. (don't over-sand!) 3. climbing fewer hand cracks (a good excuse to push myself on harder routes!) 4. wearing sandals or going barefoot as much as possible (sleeping barefoot) 5. wearing climbing shoes that don't pinch the pinky toe area of the foot.

hope this helps!

FLAG


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