11 Sep What is a Plantar Wart?
Dealing with Plantar Warts
You depend on your feet to get you where you want to go and to perform hundreds of daily activities. A minor foot problem can throw you off schedule. We understand that when your feet hurt it’s difficult to enjoy your everyday activities and challenges general mobility.
Don’t let common problems like a fungal nail, ingrown nail or plantar wart slow you down. Left alone, these minor problems can become a major source of pain. Call a foot health professional who can clear these conditions up and get your feet back on track.
Ugly, Bumpy Warts?
Warts that form on your feet are known as plantar warts. They are not serious, but they look ugly and can be painful. If you’re suffering from plantar warts, you’ll start experiencing foot pain whenever you put pressure on your soles.
How are Plantar Warts Different from Other Warts?
Both warts and plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus flourishes in warm, humid conditions like shared showers, saunas and swimming pools.
Despite these similarities, there are some key differences. While regular warts can be treated with over-the-counter remedies, plantar warts don’t respond to those treatments. The only way to get rid of them is to consult a podiatrist, who can prescribe a topical medication that allows the plantar wart to gradually disintegrate.
Plantar warts also look different from hand warts. They don’t have the typical domed shape of a wart, because walking on the plantar wart flattens it. For this reason, they may be difficult to identify.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch
Plantar warts begin as black specks on the soles of your feet that don’t wash off. Some people call them “seed warts,” but warts don’t have seeds. The black specks are actually tiny blood vessels that are growing into the plantar wart. Eventually, these specks form into the classic “warty” look we’re all familiar with.
Many people report that walking with a plantar wart feels like walking with a hard lump inside your shoe. Plantar warts may be minor, benign growths but they can also be painful.
Since plantar warts occur on the foot, there’s a further complication that can affect them. Unlike warts on the hands, plantar warts are subject to constant friction. This often causes a callus to form around the wart as a way of protecting the foot. Treating the wart may involve removing the callus as well.
When to Call a Podiatrist
Although not serious, foot ailments like an ingrown nail, fungal nail, and plantar warts can all cause discomfort and even pain. Leave them untreated and they won’t just go away. You may end up with feet that itch, scale and hurt to walk on. The best approach is always to call a foot care professional as soon as you notice any worrying symptoms.
Treatment of Plantar Warts
Plantar warts are not easy to get rid of and they often recur. Most podiatrists will begin by using topical treatments that melt the wart away.
There are a number of other treatments your podiatrist might try. These can be done in one office visit and may include the following.
Cryotherapy. This procedure freezes the wart using liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide.
Electrosurgery. Using an electric needle, the podiatrist melts the wart.
Pulsed-dye laser treatment. This treatment uses heat to burn the wart off.
Practice Good Foot Care to Avoid Warts
- Always bring your own flip-flops or shower shoes when you use a public shower, swimming pool or sauna.
- If you have open cuts on your feet, avoid walking barefoot in warm, humid public areas.
- Wash your feet and your shower shoes after being in a public pool, sauna, locker or shower.
- Never touch your warts or another person’s warts.
- If you already have a wart, keep it dry.
- Don’t share pedicure tools with anyone.
- Children and people with weakened immune systems should take extra precautions to avoid exposure to HPV.
Foot Health Specialists
At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, located in Sterling VA, we have the latest diagnostic tools and treatments for all of your foot troubles. If you’re suffering from pain, soreness or any other symptom, give us a call today.