Don’t Let Plantar Warts Haunt Your Feet!
You may have seen them before on the soles of your own feet or others; small, callous-like growths. They’re called plantar warts, and while they might not be the prettiest things in the world, they’re usually pretty harmless. We want to answer all your questions about plantar warts: what they are, who’s most at risk, what the symptoms are, how serious they are, and how to prevent them.
Don’t let plantar warts haunt your feet. With the proper knowledge and foot care, we can help you rid your feet of plantar warts.
What are Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are growths on the soles of your feet caused by several forms of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV virus is contagious and can be contracted through direct contact with an infected person or through walking barefoot in an area where the virus is present.
HPV enters the body through tiny cuts or breaks in the skin, which then causes the skin cells to grow faster than normal, resulting in a wart. Your immune system tries to fight off the virus, but in some cases, it can’t respond quickly enough or at all.
Who is Most at Risk for Plantar Warts?
Anyone can get plantar warts, regardless of their hygiene habits. However, here are the factors that put you at risk for developing this pesky condition.
Age: Elderly, Children, and Teenagers
Older adults can be more susceptible because the immune system can weaken with age. Children and teenagers also have a high risk of plantar warts because their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
People with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of developing plantar warts. This includes people who have HIV/AIDS, cancer, or diabetes. People taking medications that suppress the immune system are also at a higher risk.
Those Who have had Plantar Warts in the Past
People who have had plantar warts before are more likely to develop them again because HPV can remain in the skin for extended periods. Research has shown that the virus can remain dormant in the skin for years before causing another outbreak of warts.
People Who Walk Barefoot in Public Places
Walking barefoot in public places puts you at a higher risk of developing plantar warts. This is because the virus that causes plantar warts can be found in places like locker rooms, showers, and pools.
What are the Symptoms of Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts usually don’t cause any pain or tenderness unless they grow on a weight-bearing part of the foot and become irritated by the pressure. In that case, you might feel a burning or stinging sensation when you walk or stand. You might also see one or more of these symptoms:
- Small, black dots on the surface of the wart (these are clotted blood vessels).
- A hard, thickened patch of skin.
- A callus over a small area on your foot.
- Multiple warts clustered together.
How Serious are Plantar Warts?
For the most part, plantar warts are not a serious foot problem; they should go away on their own within two years in individuals with healthy immune systems. Though that is a long time to wait.
However, plantar warts can become infected if you have diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood circulation. The pain they cause can make walking uncomfortable or difficult and lead to muscle and joint discomfort over time.
Home Remedies or Professional Treatment?
There are many over-the-counter treatments for plantar warts available. However, these treatments don’t always work and can sometimes cause side effects like pain, redness, and swelling.
If home remedies don’t work after several weeks or if your wart is causing pain, it’s best to come into our office, so our doctors can prescribe a stronger treatment. Common medical treatments for plantar warts include:
- Freezing (cryotherapy)
- Minor surgery to remove the wart
- Laser treatment
- Prescription-strength peeling medicine
- Medication to strengthen the immune system
How to Prevent Plantar Warts
It is possible to prevent plantar warts. Here are our top prevention tips.
Avoid Direct Contact With Any Warts
If you have close contact with someone who has plantar warts, you’re more likely to develop them yourself. Plantar warts are highly contagious.
Keep Feet Clean and Dry
Another way to prevent plantar warts is to keep your feet clean and dry. This means washing your feet regularly with soap and water and drying them thoroughly afterward. You should also avoid sharing towels or other personal items with others, as this can also spread the virus.
Avoid Walking Barefoot Around Swimming Pools and Locker Rooms
One of the best ways to prevent plantar warts is to avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms, pool areas, and showers. This is because the virus that causes plantar warts can be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces. If you must walk barefoot in public places, be sure to wear sandals or flip-flops.
Don’t Pick or Scratch at Warts
If you already have plantar warts, it’s important not to pick at them. This can cause warts to spread to other parts of your body or other people. If you’re having trouble resisting the urge to pick at your warts, try covering them with a bandage or piece of tape.
Avoid Using the Same Care Tools
Another important thing to remember when caring for feet with plantar warts is to not use the same foot care tool on healthy parts of your feet or nails. This is because doing so can spread the virus and cause new warts to form. Therefore, it is essential to use separate tools for each area and to disinfect all tools after each use.
Contact Us for Help
Plantar warts might not be pretty, but fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get rid of them if they do start causing problems. With our expertise in foot skin problems, we offer a range of treatments to suit your needs. Call our Ladera Ranch office or schedule an appointment through our online contact form to start your treatment journey.