Plantar Warts: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

What are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts, though common, can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition that affects the soles of the feet. For those unfamiliar with them, these growths (sometimes big, sometimes small) may seem inconsequential, but they can cause significant discomfort and inconvenience if left untreated. At Momentum Podiatry we understand the impact plantar warts can have on your daily life, which is why we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive care and effective treatment options for this condition. 

The Nitty Gritty info on Plantar Warts

Plantar warts, medically known as verruca pedis plantaris, are non-cancerous growths that appear on the soles of the feet. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which enters the body through tiny cuts or breaks in the skin. Once inside, the virus can cause the skin cells on the bottom of the foot to grow rapidly, leading to the development of a wart. Whilst there are many strains of HPV there are limited strains which cause plantar warts on your body. 

Warts are contagious because they are a virus. You are able to pick it up directly from someone else eg touching their hand, foot or part of the body where the wart is placed, or it can live on surfaces so you can indirectly infect yourself through contact of a surface, towel, soap, etc making it very difficult to identify where it may have come from.

Symptoms of Plantar Warts:

Identifying plantar warts is crucial for timely treatment. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Small, rough, grainy growths on the soles of the feet.
  • Areas of thickened skin (calluses) over the wart.
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing, especially if the wart is located on a weight-bearing area of the foot.
  • Black dots or tiny blood vessels within the wart, which are often called “wart seeds” but are actually small, clotted blood vessels.
  • Circular patterns with edges raised above the skin. 
  • A cluster of warts is called mosaic warts and appears as a large spread area of verrucae pedis lesions joined together. 

It’s essential to note that plantar warts can vary in appearance and may not always exhibit all of these symptoms.

Treatment Options for Plantar Warts:

At Momentum Podiatry in Parkdale we offer various treatment options tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient. Here are some of the most effective methods for treating plantar warts:

Salicylic Acid:

We use a high potency salicylic acid in cases where it is suitable to strongly target the affected area. We may also recommend over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid as it can be effective in gradually removing plantar warts. These products work by breaking down the outer layer of the wart, allowing it to be sloughed off over time. 

Cryotherapy:

Cryotherapy involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, causing it to blister and eventually fall off. This procedure is typically performed in-office and may require multiple sessions for complete removal.

Laser Therapy:

Laser therapy uses focused beams of light to target and destroy the wart tissue. This treatment is often reserved for stubborn or recurring warts and may require local anaesthesia.

Surgical Removal:

In some cases, surgical removal of the wart may be necessary, especially if other treatments have been unsuccessful. This procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and involves cutting out the wart tissue.

Immunotherapy:

Immunotherapy involves stimulating the body’s immune response to fight off the virus causing the wart. This may include injecting the wart with substances such as candida antigen or applying topical agents to boost immune function. 

Whilst direct treatment is required for the wart it is important to support the immune system, it may be worth seeking GP or pharmacist advice in the Bayside area for underlying causes of the wart being present or lingering when you are undergoing treatment

Prevention Tips and The Need to Knows:

While plantar warts are contagious and can be challenging to prevent entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing them:

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas such as locker rooms, pool decks, and communal showers. 
  • Keep your feet clean and dry, as moisture can create an environment conducive to wart development.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support to reduce pressure on the soles of the feet.
  • Avoid touching or picking at existing warts, as this can spread the virus to other areas of the body.
A Podiatrist checking for a plantar wart

What to Remember?

Plantar warts can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but with the right treatment approach, they can be effectively managed and eliminated. If you’re experiencing symptoms of plantar warts, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a qualified podiatrist.

 

At Momentum Podiatry in Parkdale we’re here to provide expert care and personalised treatment options to help you get back on your feet and enjoy life without the burden of plantar warts. We look forward to treating the warts lurking within the Bayside Area and ensuring we have a happier and healthier community.

References: Mayo clinic

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