intractable plantar keratosis - IPK

IPK – Is That A “rock” In Your Shoe, Or Are You Just Happy To See Your Podiatrist

By Christopher Chung, DPM, AACFAS

Ever feel like you have a pebble or small rock in your shoe pester you the  whole day, only to realize after you kick off your shoes that there is no  pebble or rock in your shoe. You inspect the bottom of your foot and see  something; a hard piece of skin studded on the bottom of your foot. You  might think you might have a wart and, to be fair, you might be right. Or  it may be that you have an IPK, an intractable plantar keratosis.  

IPK lesions are commonly referred to the general  public as “corns”.

intractable plantar keratosis - IPK

Much like a kernel of corn, an IPK is a hard mass which is found typically on the bottom of your feet. These IPKs are usually found in areas of the feet where there is more pressure than other areas, resulting in the skin thickening and creating a callused core in the region of the focused pressure. The pain that can come from one of these IPKs can range from mild annoyance or can literally bring a person to their knees.  

It’s fair to say a wart looks similar to an IPK since they are both thick,  painful to touch and to walk on and seemingly came from nowhere. In  any case, don’t touch it! Whether the lesion is an IPK, wart, splinter, etc,  it is not advisable to attempt to cut out whatever it is on the bottom of  your foot without a professional taking a look first.  

So what’s the difference between  an IPK and a regular callus?

intractable plantar keratosis.  

They’re essentially the same thing, thickened skin caused by the underlying bone structure in your foot as well as how you walk.  

The difference is an IPK has an indurated center from the focused pressure it is receiving. 

This means the bone structure, how your foot actually looks on the inside, along with your biomechanics, the way in which you walk, are what dictate the distribution of these pressure points on your feet. Typically these are taken care of by carefully paring the center of the corn by a professional podiatrist.  

 intractable plantar keratosisA combination of paring, offloading pads, custom foot orthotics and  creams are usually the way to mitigate the pain. If the IPK persists even with conservative care, surgical intervention may need to be explored in  order to relieve pressure to the area. Trimming an IPK, if done correctly,  should not be a painful process. 

These IPKs are painful and can ruin your day BUT remember, they don’t  have to! Please make an appointment at any one of our 7 office locations  where top rated doctors are ready to help you keep your feet happy and  healthy. 

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