Warts, just the name conjures unpleasant thoughts of those unsightly masses that are associated with unpleasant things from childhood fairy tales. Though not as bad as depicted in the storyteller’s imagination, warts are warts, and plantar warts can be worse due to where they are located, and the pressure put on them. So, how do we get them? And better yet, how do we get rid of them?
What Are Plantar Warts?
Warts are thick, small benign growths that appear on the skin and are caused by a virus. Plantar warts, also referred to as “foot warts”, occur on the bottoms of the foot, an area that can make them uncomfortable and sometimes painful to walk on. They often appear on the area of your foot that experiences pressure and friction, which can cause the wart to be pushed deeper under the skin. The majority of the time, plantar warts do not require treatment by a podiatric physician.
What Causes Plantar Warts?
Warts are caused one of the many types of human papillomavirus (HPV) - one of the most common viral skin infections. HPV infects only the surface layer of skin, producing a thick callus-like growth that can become quite tender.
The virus typically invades the skin through tiny abrasions or cuts and is often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty, unsanitary surfaces where the virus exists. The virus thrives in warm, moist environment which renders infection a common occurrence in public swimming and bathing facilities.
Warts are a common skin condition affecting approximately one-half of adults during their lifetime. Plantar warts can affect all age groups, but are most commonly found among children 10 - 16 years of age and rarely occur in the elderly. Causes for the development of plantar warts include:
- Using public showers
- Trauma to the skin
- Medications or illnesses that weaken the immune system
If left untreated, warts can grow and multiply, are contagious and can easily be spread through direct contact. Like any other contagious infected wound, plantar warts are spread by scratching, rubbing, touching, sharing personal items such as towels and razors or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. If the skin is opened causing the wart to bleed, this can also create another route for spreading.
How Do I Get Rid Of Plantar Warts?
Most warts are generally harmless, even though they can be painful and uncomfortable. They are often confused with for calluses or corns, which are dead layers of skin that builds up to protect an area that is continuously being irritated. However, plantar warts are still a viral infection.
Treating plantar warts at home is generally not advisable. Over-the-counter medications contain chemicals or acids that can destroy skin cells. Treating this skin infection with these types of medications should be strictly avoided by people with diabetes, circulatory or cardiovascular disorders.
If you suspect that you or a family member may have contracted plantar warts, it is advisable to consult with a podiatric physician in order to ensure a correct diagnosis. It is important during diagnosis to exclude other, more serious lesions that appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as melanomas and carcinomas.
How Do I Prevent Plantar Warts?
- Don’t walk barefoot
- Change socks and shoes on a daily basis
- Keep feet clean and dry
- Examine children's feet occasionally
- Don’t come in direct contact with warts
- Don’t disregard abnormal growths or changes in your skin
- Keep warts covered with a clean bandage to prevent spreading
For Treatment Or Prevention Of Plantar Warts, Contact Our Foot Experts At One Of Our Kirkland, Everett, Renton Or Redmond Locations.
Taking care of your feet is important to your overall health. In addition to following the above tips, be sure to see a podiatrist at the Integrative Foot and Ankle Centers of Washington located in Kirkland, Everett, Renton and Redmond if you’re dealing with foot pain or other foot problems. Call (425) 678-3877 or visit our contact page to get in touch.