How often do you look at the soles of your feet? Chances are you don’t pay much attention to them unless you feel something strange. You may think you have a pebble in your shoe, only to find a small hard spot on your skin. Hard spots like corns and calluses on your soles are not uncommon. If the spots have little black dots in them, though, you are most likely looking at plantar warts. (Plantar simply means on the bottom of your foot.)
Kids and teens seem to get these growths more quickly than adults. That could be because they run around barefoot more often. Anyone can develop them, though. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that causes the wart can live on carpets and hard surfaces as well in damp, warm environments like public pools and showers, so it is hard to avoid. The virus is not extremely contagious, but people vary widely in their ability to fight it off. Usually, your healthy skin forms an adequate barrier and the virus isn’t a problem. However, the smallest cut or scratch is all it needs to set up house on the sole of your foot.
Wart vs. Corn
Corns—like warts—are hard, round patches of dry skin, but they more often form on the top and sides of the feet in response to friction points. As a wart multiplies, the skin becomes hard and may have a “bubbly” look, and usually has tiny black dots scattered over the growth. These are the ends of tiny blood vessels where the virus feeds. The black dots are dried clotted blood. The normal lines along your skin are interrupted by the growth and will seem to swirl around it like the grain around a knot in a piece of wood.
Most of these warts do not pose a serious health concern and will eventually heal themselves without treatment. However, they can spread into a cluster or grow into the foot with a callus forming over them. When you walk on the callus, it presses the wart into the tender tissues underneath and starts to cause pain. If walking on one is uncomfortable or painful, you will need to deal with it.
How to Treat Plantar Warts
There are some self-care things you can try at home. You may have heard of some people getting rid of plantar warts with duct tape or apple cider vinegar treatments. The reviews on these are mixed, but they may be non-toxic methods to try. There are also over-the-counter wart treatments available, such as salicylic acid or cryotherapy (freezing) solutions. None of these are as effective as those available from a medical professional. They are definitely not recommended if you have diabetes or an autoimmune condition. In that case, sores on your feet are nothing to take lightly and should always be treated by a trained professional.
Chiropodist Tony Abbott is the person to visit in Collingwood, ON, for all your foot care needs. At Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic we can offer you several treatment options—from freezing to laser therapy—that have a much better chance of succeeding against your plantar warts. Don’t walk on painful warts any longer. Give us a call at (705) 444-9929 today!