What are plantar warts?
Plantar warts occur on the sole, heel, and ball of the foot. Anyone can contract the virus that causes plantar warts, and they most often occur in children and young adults. Plantar warts are hard, grainy growths that usually appear on the areas that feel the most pressure. This pressure also may cause plantar warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus).
Plantar warts are sometimes caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet. Incidence is higher in people who share common bathing areas such as gym showers.
Most plantar warts aren’t a serious health concern but are often uncomfortable and painful. Conservative minimally invasive therapy should be tried first.
For an appointment or information:
If you believe you are suffering from plantar warts, schedule an appointment today with one of our board certified podiatrists.
SYMPTOMS OF PLANTAR WARTS
A small, fleshy, rough, grainy growth (lesion) on the bottom of your foot
Hard, thickened skin (callus) over a well-defined “spot” on the skin, where a wart has grown inward
Black pinpoints, which are commonly called wart seeds but are actually small, clotted blood vessels
A lesion that interrupts the normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot
Pain or tenderness when walking or standing
TREATMENT OF PLANTAR WARTS
Plantar warts typically go away without treatment on their own over about a one or two year time period. If your warts are painful or spreading, you may want to try treating them with over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications or home remedies. You may need many repeated treatments before the warts go away.
In most cases, self-care, or at home techniques that do not work leads to the next step in alleviating the discomfort. Some solutions to explore prior to undergoing a semi-invasive procedure may include,
Stronger peeling medicine (salicylic acid)
Prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. They may also stimulate your immune system’s ability to fight the plantar wart.
Freezing medicine (cryotherapy)
Freezing therapy done at a doctor’s office involves applying liquid nitrogen to your wart, either with a spray or a cotton swab. Your doctor may numb the area first because it can be painful when the liquid nitrogen is applied.
The chemicals cause a blister to form around your wart, and the dead tissue sloughs off within a week or so.
Some studies show that this treatment is more effective when combined with salicylic acid treatments.
SURGICAL AND TREATMENT PROCEDURES OF PLANTAR WARTS
This method uses medications or solutions to stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. Your doctor may inject your warts with a foreign substance (antigen) or apply a solution or cream to the warts.
Your doctor cuts away the wart or destroys it by using an electric needle (electrodesiccation and curettage). This procedure can be painful, so your doctor will numb your skin first. Because surgery can cause scarring, this method usually isn’t used to treat plantar warts.
Pulsed-dye laser treatment burns closed (cauterizes) tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. The evidence for the effectiveness of this method is limited, and it can cause pain and scarring.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been used with success to treat warts.
To find out which treatment is right for you – schedule an appointment with our Park Avenue office in New York! And if you aren’t sure if the growth on your foot is a plantar wart – don’t worry. Just select ‘General Consultation’ on our contact form and you can discuss it privately in person with Dr. Levine during your appointment.