Winning the War on Plantar Warts

They lie in wait, ready to invade any breakdown in your defenses. They might hide invisible where you live, work, or play, and you won’t detect their presence until they’ve embedded themselves deep behind the front lines. These are plantar warts—or more specifically, the virus that causes them. While largely harmless, getting rid of a case of warts can definitely feel like a battle. Luckily, you can get some superior firepower on your side.

Causes of Conflict

A plantar wart is hard skin growth named for its location on the body. If you have a wart on the hand, by contrast, that’s known as a palmer wart. The responsible party for creating these bumps is the human papillomavirus, more widely referred to as HPV. There are many different varieties of this virus, but only some of them will cause warts to develop on the feet.

The strains of HPV that can result in warts on the feet are not highly contagious, but still contagious enough to make person-to-person transmission possible. Warm, moist environments such as public pools and locker rooms are where the virus can thrive, and provide a higher risk of picking up an infection. Skin that is cut, scraped, cracked, or even softened from long exposure to water is more susceptible to the virus. Children and those with weak immune systems can be particularly vulnerable.

A plantar wart appears on the foot as a small, grainy growth or bump on the bottom of the foot. It may be covered by a callus, especially if the wart is in an area that regularly receives pressure. Tiny black specks are often visible in the wart, which are small blood vessels that have ruptured and clotted. There may or may not be pain, depending on the location and tenderness of the bump.

Fighting Back

Most warts on the feet will go away on their own without treatment, but this can take upward of 2 years in some cases. There are those who swear by home remedies, but many of these are ineffective and some can even be harmful. Use caution and common sense if you attempt any of these techniques, and never try anything that involves cutting into the skin.

If you have been unsuccessful in treating your warts or especially if they appear to be spreading, it’s time to see a professional.

Wart treatment can take several different forms and will depend on the patient’s individual case and needs. In some cases, a chemical or salicylic acid can be used to remove a wart layer by layer. Applications will be made in the office, usually taking 2-3 treatments. Excessive sweating of the feet can make treating warts difficult. So, treatments to control the sweaty feet is an important part of treating plantar warts. There are many treatments available for sweaty feet.

Other treatments are also available, and we will be sure to discuss all possible options with you.

If you or your child is engaged in a fight against warts, Dr. Timothy Barry at Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper can provide the reinforcements you need. Our office behind Memorial Hospital is here for you. Call us at (812) 481-7200 to set up an appointment.

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