Plantar warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes a hard growth that can be painful to walk or run on. As the term plantar refers – these occur on the plantar aspect or the bottom of the feet. Plantar warts are often confused with corns, but characteristically are quite different.
A simple test to determine if you have a wart versus a corn starts with a visual examination. Warts have small black dots within which are the ends of tiny blood vessels that the virus feeds off. If you look closely, the lines on the skin will also be interrupted. The “squeeze test” also helps to confirm the presence of a wart. Squeezing the area from the sides will usually produce a sharp pain or a tingling sensation.
What causes warts?
Plantar warts are caused by a virus that is most commonly found in warm, moist environments like pools and public locker rooms, but can be found in carpets and other hard surfaces. Usually the skin is enough of a barrier to protect you from getting a wart however some people are just more susceptible to warts. A small break or scratch in the skin is a perfect entry point for the virus. Once the virus invades the skin, you will start to feel a hard lump forming, followed by changes in the skin appearance. Warts are contagious and often multiply and spread to the surrounding tissues.
Warts are more common in children and young adults, but may present at any age. If left untreated, warts often spread and become unsightly and painful to walk or run on. A variety of conservative treatments are available for plantar warts. Surgical removal is not usually recommended.
There are many over-the counter products available to treat plantar warts. The truth is they are not strong enough to kill most warts. At Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic, we use several stronger products which are more effective and will reduce the overall time it takes to rid you of that nasty wart. Laser treatment of resistant warts is also available at Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic.