Have you noticed pain or tenderness when putting pressure on your feet while walking, a pain that just doesn’t seem to go away? There’s a chance you’re dealing with Plantar Warts. To know for sure, look for a circular flat spot on your skin, slightly yellowed with a depressed middle area, crust, or even a black spot in the middle. If you think you’ve found it, it’s time to see a specialist.
A few important things to know about Plantar Warts is that they are common, contagious, and benign skin lesions. That’s right; the chances are that most people will have one at some point in their lives. They are most common in older children but can be seen in any age group. Unfortunately, they can be painful when weight-bearing or when you apply pressure to the lesion. Since they occur on the soles or plantar aspect of the foot, the pressure causes calluses to form over the wart, which can also cause additional pain and make them much more difficult to treat on your own. In many cases, they may require professional treatment.
This post looks at the types of Plantar Warts, why they are contagious, the symptoms and treatments for these warts, and how Yeargain Foot & Ankle can help you on the road to recovery.
The Types of Plantar Warts
So what prompts these warts? Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus then invades your body through small breaks, tiny cuts, or other weak areas in the skin on the bottom of the foot. And, actually, warts may not appear for weeks or months after initial exposure. But if you hang out in a sports locker room or indoor swimming pools, you’ll find the warts develop quickly. This is because HPV thrives in warm, moist places.
Two types of Plantar Warts can form on the bottom of the foot:
- Solitary Wart: As you can guess, this is a stand-alone, single wart that usually increases in size and may eventually multiply. The spread can form additional satellite warts close to the original wart.
- Mosaic Warts: This is a cluster of several small warts growing closely together like a unit. They tend to be clustered in one area and are typically more challenging to treat than solitary warts. So the longer you wait to seek treatment, the more difficult it will be to resolve fully.
Plantar Warts are Contagious
Like other viral infections, Plantar Warts can be contagious and spread commonly in public swimming pools, hot tubs, communal showers, and even at your shower at home. This can spread among people who share athletic facilities or engage in bare-footed group activities such as mixed martial arts, yoga, and pilates, and even to your family at home. So, you see, it’s pretty easy to spread them. When you know you have Plantar Warts, we always recommend keeping them covered if you are at risk of exposing others. And we recommend spraying your shower with a bleach cleaning solution after each use.
A person’s immune system responds differently to HPV, so not everyone who comes in contact with it develops warts. For example, sometimes one family member will develop a wart, but it doesn’t spread to others using the same shower.
The Symptoms of Plantar Warts
Symptoms can be particular for diagnosing a wart:
- Thickened Callus: This can form over the wart, and you may notice the skin lines going around the lesion.
- Pain: There is pain with lateral or side-to-side pressure of the wart. Walking or standing for long periods can be painful.
- Tiny Black Dots: These can be seen on the wart’s surface or within the callus overlying the wart. Most people call these the “seeds” of the wart when really, these are dried or thrombosed capillaries (tiny blood vessels) that help the wart grow and spread.
- Punctate Bleeding: Once the callus is shaved down, the doctor will see these pinhead-sized hemorrhages at the site of the wart.
Why do Plantar Warts Hurt so bad? This same type of wart can occur all over the body, but when it is on the bottom of the feet, it is much more painful due to the increased nerve endings in our feet and the weight-bearing pressure we apply to that area while standing or walking.
The Remedies for Plantar Warts
Remedies of plantar warts range from at-home treatments to surgical intervention.
- Over-the-Counter Treatments: These use salicylic acid and work by removing layers of the callus and wart a little bit at a time. This can sometimes be effective for smaller warts after a few treatments.
- Cryotherapy or Freezing: This can be performed by a physician using liquid nitrogen. After freezing, a blister forms, and the wart starts to peel off. This method can be painful and require several treatments. This treatment is not very effective on the bottom of the feet due to the thickness of the skin in that region.
- Laser Treatment: Performed in an office or operating room setting, this works to cauterize the wart, causing it to peel off gradually. Repeat treatments are needed every three to four weeks for more prominent or mosaic warts.
- Surgery: This can be an invasive option and will remove the wart and surrounding skin and tissue. Surgery can leave a painful scar at the site.
- Other Topical Acids: Pyrogallic acid and cantharides are two examples of acids that can remove the wart chemically. This also tends to stimulate the body’s immune response to help fight and prevent future warts. These acids aren’t available over the counter and require you to be seen by a physician to properly administer the treatment and closely follow the skin after the procedure.
How Yeargain Foot & Ankle Can Help
Warts can be stubborn and take weeks, if not months, to resolve. Seeing a specialist can help ease your pain and resolve the wart quicker so it doesn’t continue to spread. It’s easier to treat a wart while it’s still in a small or solitary phase. This can also save you valuable time and money in the long run.
Yeargain Foot & Ankle are the experts when it comes to foot and ankle ailments. Warts can be tricky and challenging to treat, leading to extended bouts of pain and discomfort. We find shaving down the callus first helps with the initial annoyance at the site. This can be done using a surgical blade and is typically painless.
At YF&A, we offer two different chemical treatment options to resolve Plantar Warts. Treatments are administered every two weeks in the office. In addition to the chemical treatment in the office, we will recommend a home treatment regimen in-between visits, including applying a prescription-strength skin-softening cream to decrease the thickness of the lesion.
If you have any concerns that you may have developed a Plantar Wart, see us today so that you can begin your journey back to beautiful, healthy, pain-free feet! To book an appointment, call (214) 824-3851 or book an appointment via our contact page.
We look forward to treating you. You’ll find Yeargain Foot & Ankle at 3801 Gaston Ave. Suite 330 across the street from the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.