Did you know that practically everyone will have a wart pop up somewhere on their bodies at some point in their lifetime? Plantar warts, also known as verrucas, are particularly common in pre-teen children, before their immune system has had a chance to fully develop. Plantar warts specifically appear on the bottom of the foot and are often quite painful. The information below will be helpful for those who long to thwart those painful plantar warts!

What is it?

In general, warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which invades the skin through miniscule cuts or abrasions on the skin – often too small to be seen by the naked eye. This virus spreads quite rapidly. There are over 60 different strains of HPV. Warts can appear anywhere, but those that appear on the soles of the feet are known as plantar warts or verrucas.

What to look for?

Plantar warts are often brown or grey with black spots or streaky lines. The black spots are caused by the bleeding of small blood vessels into the tissue. If accidently cut or scratched, they will often bleed profusely. They start out as small bumps, but can grow up to 2.5 centimetres if left untreated. A cauliflower-like texture may develop. Clusters may form and can spread to other parts of the body.

Are they contagious?

Even if you or your child has been kissing toads, only people can pass warts to other people. Walking barefoot in public places or sharing socks and shoes with other people will greatly increase your chance of becoming infected. The virus thrives in warm, moist environments, such as a shower room floor. A wart can lie dormant for years; however, the HPV has an incubation period of up to three months.

Does it require treatment?

Warts in general are not life-threatening. Plantar warts can be especially painful given their location on the bottom of the foot. That being said, plantar warts have similar characteristics of a wide variety of skin lesions. The best plan of action is to have a podiatrist examine the affected area to make sure that it is not a cancerous growth or a mole, corn, or callus that would require different treatment methods.

What are the treatment options?

Plantar warts are notoriously stubborn. The majority of the time they will require a podiatrist’s intervention before they will go away. Home remedies are not recommended. A podiatrist may prescribe medication specifically designed for warts; however, if the wart has been left untreated for too long, other methods will have to be used to successfully treat it.

• Cryotherapy, also known as freezing the wart, is one of the most common methods for removing the wart. It is not painful but repeated treatments may be required if the entire wart was unable to be removed the first time.
• Injections or chemical removal may be necessary.
• Various types of surgical methods, generally laser surgery, are also options that your podiatrist might suggest

Our expert staff at Healthy Steps Podiatry will be able to recommend the best method of treatment for your condition. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We can help you thwart those painful and unsightly plantar warts.