Plantar warts are a common foot ailment afflicting both young and old. They are caused by infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are over 100 different strains of HPV, and only a few of them are responsible for causing warts on the bottom of feet. Although plantar warts are not a serious health concern, they can become quite uncomfortable and are unsightly. It is for this reason that people have tried just about anything to remove these stubborn little growths.
Warts are commonly found on the areas of the foot that bear the most pressure, like the ball of the foot or the heel. Constantly putting pressure on these areas while walking can make the warts very painful. The following are unique to warts and can help you differentiate them from corns or calluses (a common confusion):
- The normal skin lines on the bottom of the foot are “pushed aside” by the wart. This means that you will be able to see the skin lines curving around the wart rather than passing through the lesion like a corn or calluses.
- A small black dot in the center of the wart is often visible. This dot is caused by a clotted blood vessel.
The HPV virus is transmitted when your foot comes in contact with the virus (e.g. public showers). If you have any cuts, scrapes or cracks on the bottom of your feet it is easier for the virus to enter your system. The best way to reduce your risk of contracting the virus is to wear shoes in public areas and keep your feet free of cuts and cracks.
Warts can often be treated at home with over the counter medications. However, if you have diabetes, a weakened immune system or any other significant health concerns you should see your podiatrist before attempting any at home care. If you are concerned about warts or any other foot ailment consider making an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona. We want you to love your feet - warts and all!