A Few Things You May Not Know About Plantar Warts

Warts of any kind can be difficult to get rid of. Plantar warts are especially hard to deal with, because they are deep within the sole, or sides, of the foot. Topical and over-the-counter treatments might remove the visible, exposed portion of the wart, but the roots of the wart are left intact. The opportunity for new warts to develop remains.

Plantar warts get their name from the surface of the foot where they are most common. Because plantar warts are often located on the pressure points of the foot, they tend to grow inward, under the skin. The constant pressure of being on your feet for the better part of your day is what causes these warts to remain underneath the skin. That’s why it’s possible to have plantar warts for years and remain unaware until the warts become bothersome.

Little known facts about plantar warts

Plantar warts are common because they spread fairly easily. If you work out regularly and use the showers at your gym, you have probably been exposed to the virus that causes plantar warts.

If you’ve develop plantar warts, you usually see a depressed, circular area on the sole of your foot. This spot may be yellowish and possibly have a black spot in the middle. Beneath the flat, round area is a root with finger-like growths attached.

In addition to these basic facts, you may find that these common viral growths still hold a few surprises for you. Here are some of the lesser-known facts about plantar warts.

HPV is the cause

Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a different strain of the virus that causes cervical cancer. The HPV enters through a break in your skin, and if your antibodies don’t manage to kill the virus in time, it develops cells at a rapid rate.

The virus can be dormant

The virus can remain dormant for as long as 20 months, making it difficult to determine just where you caught the virus that led to your plantar warts. Gyms can play host to the plantar warts virus, as well as many other germs. It’s a good idea to wear shower shoes or flip-flops in public showers at your gym and in dorms. HPV likes the damp environment found in locker rooms, pool showers, and the like.

Plantar warts stick to feet

Although plantar warts like to grow and spread, they will remain on your feet. They only grow on the type of skin found on the bottom of your feet.

The warts can be painful

Plantar warts can be very uncomfortable. As they spread and grow, the warts can press against the nerves in your foot, causing sharp pain and burning as you walk.

They are contagious

Plantar warts are contagious, but for some reason, are much more common in youth 12-16 years old. The virus also targets those individuals with weakened immune systems.

Symptoms of plantar warts

Typically, your first symptom of plantar warts will be pain and tenderness when you apply pressure to your foot. This can feel something like a deep bruise. When you examine your foot you’ll see the telltale round spot with the black dot, as described above.

You may notice a rough, grainy lesion on the sole of your foot. The lesion will be fleshy in appearance and usually be at the front (ball) of your underfoot, on the underside of your toes, or along your heel. When you apply pressure, it will hurt.

Get rid of your plantar warts for good

Jeffery W. LaMour, DPM, PA, takes plantar warts, and all foot problems, very seriously. If your feet are causing you pain, it can affect every aspect of your daily life. Don’t endure painful, bothersome plantar warts. We can help.

Dr. LaMour specializes in a full range of services to help put an end to your foot pain, including plantar warts. Let us address your plantar warts and get rid of them once and for all. Dr. LaMour determines the best approach to remove your painful, unsightly, plantar warts. Contact one of Dr. LaMour’s two offices — in Austin and Pflugerville, Texas — today and say “so long” to your plantar warts.

What To Do About Plantar Warts

Most people have plantar warts at some point. The clinical name is verrucae warts, and they are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV thrives in warm, damp areas, such as locker room floors and puddles around swimming pools.

There are many varieties of HPV, but types 1, 2, 4, 60, and 63 specifically cause plantar warts. The virus enters your body through cracks in your skin, and even a tiny crack that you can’t see or didn’t know was there is an open door for HPV.

What to look for

Sometimes, plantar warts grow up into your skin, so that you don’t see them. They may be covered by a callus or thick layer of skin. Plantar warts can be painful, but they are likely to resolve on their own, eventually. If they hurt, you should book an appointment with Dr. Jeffery LaMour for treatment.

Usually, plantar warts are located on your heels or on the balls of your feet. If you see black dots that look like pin points, you probably have plantar warts that have grown inward. The points are clotted blood vessels.

At-home treatments

If your plantar warts don’t hurt, you may want to try some home remedies. A few studies have investigated whether or not placing a piece of duct tape on the plantar wart for a few days, but the results have been mixed.

There are some over-the-counter medications available. And, there’s a chance the plantar warts will resolve themselves and go away.

When to book an appointment

There are some instances when plantar warts need medical care. Make an appointment with Dr. LaMour if any of the following applies to you:

  • The warts are painful or bleeding
  • Home remedies and over-the-counter medicines don’t work
  • The warts stop you from doing your normal daily activities
  • You have diabetes
  • Your immune system is suppressed due to illness or medications
  • You’re not sure what you have are plantar warts

Possible treatments

There are several different methods for treating plantar warts, and the one that will work best for you depends on several factors. Usually, plantar warts are treated first with medications similar to, but stronger than, those available over-the-counter.

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in most of the medications for treating plantar warts. It works by peeling away layers of the wart with each application. You’ll need to apply the medication regularly, and likely come in for office visits so Dr. LaMour can monitor your progress.

Cryotherapy, or freezing, may be an option, especially if the salicylic acid doesn’t work or you can’t use it for some reason. Cryotherapy involves Dr. LaMour applying a small amount of liquid nitrogen to the wart which creates a blister around the wart. You may need multiple treatments for cryotherapy to be effective.

If neither salicylic acid or cryotherapy works, other treatments could be necessary. For example, other types of acids may be applied, medications to stimulate your immune system could help, and either laser treatments or minor surgery may be necessary. The HPV vaccine has been successfully used to resolve plantar warts, although it is designed to prevent different strains of the virus than those that cause plantar warts.

Dr. LaMour is happy to answer your questions about plantar warts, so if you have painful bumps on your feet, book an appointment with the Family Foot & Ankle Clinic in Austin, Texas, online or by phone today!