Plantar Warts: assessment and treatment
A common skin condition that affects 7-12% of the population is called plantar warts or verrucas. These are located on the bottom of your foot and can be prevented by waterproofing in community bathing areas. When assessing human papillomavirus (HPV) lesions, it’s important to rule out more serious conditions for a better prognosis as part of overall health care management.
What Is a Plantar Wart?
A wart is a small growth on the skin that develops when your body’s immune system fails to fight off viral infections. They can develop anywhere, but they typically occur where there are more opportunities for penetration like between toes and on your feet. Children and older adults are more likely to be affected by plantar warts due to their weaker immunity system from early life experiences.
There are two types of plantar warts, solitary and mosaic.
- A solitary wart is a single bump that may increase in size or multiply into other bumps called satellite warts.
- Mosaic plants appear as clusters with multiple small bumps growing closely together; they’re more difficult to treat than individual ones.
Plantar Wart Causes
When the HPV virus spreads in moist skin areas, it causes plantar warts to grow.
The contagious HPV infection can spread between people and cause wart growth around warm wet places like swimming pools or showers at gyms.
Many factors influence the likelihood of getting plantar warts, including your age and health. You can contact plantar warts from direct contact with a person who has one or more of them, walking barefoot in locker rooms after using communal showers at pools/gyms; having a weak immune system.
Plantar Wart Symptoms
The symptoms of a plantar wart may include:
- Thickened skin. It might resemble the calluses because it is tough and hard to touch with pain when walking or standing, squeezing could cause some discomfort
- Tiny black spots that appear on the exterior of your feet are dried blood inside tiny vessels underneath. They can be growing slowly, pushing deeper into your skin.
Plantar Wart Diagnosis and Treatments
When examining warts, your Foot and Ankle Doctor in Katy, Memorial, Cypress, Galleria, or Copperfield may take skin samples from the growth and send them to a laboratory for testing. This procedure is called a biopsy. The appearance of plantar warts can vary from person to person, but they are often larger than calluses or corns and have a more irregular shape.
If warts don’t go away after a few years, there are several treatment options to consider.
Prescription creams for Plantar Warts
A foot and ankle doctor may prescribe salicylic acid for plantar warts. This compound is usually the first treatment option when it comes to removing warts because of its high success rate and quick results. People can apply this topically on a daily basis, over several months’ time, until they are cured.
Cryotherapy for Plantar Warts
Cryotherapy, a form of treatment that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart might not be as effective as salicylic acid. However,, both should be used by podiatrists for maximum effectiveness when trying to get rid of warts on patients’ feet.
Cryotherapy is an effective treatment for warts, but it may require multiple sessions to resolve the wart. This therapy tends to be painful and therefore not recommended for young children who cannot easily understand what’s happening during a session.
Medicines for Plantar Warts
Immunotherapy is an effective treatment for warts caused by the HPV virus, as it stimulates one’s immune system to fight off this persistent and contagious infection.
Professional podiatrists use the naturally occurring blistering agent cantharidin to help remove warts. This painless medical adhesive will shield your skin for a few hours, giving you the freedom to move around without discomfort. Within one week’s time, healing begins as our bodies heal themselves from within out.
Some researchers have suggested that oral zinc supplementation may be beneficial for fighting cold symptoms, although the evidence is inconclusive. Oral medication can also boost immunity as a treatment option but has been shown to lack efficacy in some populations.
Laser Treatment for Plantar Warts
Laser treatment is a safe and effective way to remove warts, but it can sometimes cause scarring.
There is a 60-75% success rate in using the pulsed dye laser method to remove warts that are difficult to treat. However, multiple treatments may be necessary for the complete removal of all warts.
Dermatologists are highly qualified professionals who can successfully remove warts without leaving behind residuals that may cause them to regrow.
Needle puncturing is used to target the affected areas on verrucas. For patients who are in pain or cannot tolerate anti-inflammatory medications, local anesthesia can be used to numb the skin before surgery. However, they will not experience any pain during and after surgery due to avoidance of these types of drugs in this area of the body.
Those with conditions such as diabetes, circulatory problems, cardiovascular disease or vascular conditions should check in with their doctor before trying home remedies for warts.
- Salicylic acid medicine, like the ones available here for purchase, typically takes up to 12 weeks or even longer depending on how severe an individual’s case is.
- Soak your foot in warm water for 10–15 minutes, then use a pumice stone or emery board to rub the wart. Pumice stones are available at local pharmacies and online retailers like Amazon.
- Duct Tape: the anecdotal but unproven method of treating plantar warts is to cover the wart with duct tape. Experts believe that this decreases the oxygen supply and can decrease virus growth causing them, though there’s mixed evidence on whether it works. It is safe to try, however!
- There are a few creams you can get over the counter to freeze plantar warts, though they may not work very well. A dermatologist might suggest using cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen instead.
How to avoid getting Plantar Warts/Verruca
To avoid getting plantar warts, we can be mindful of what we expose our feet to.
- We should wear shoes or sandals in locker rooms and communal showers.
- Keeping the feet clean and dry at all times is key!
- It’s also best not to share personal items with other people such as a pumice stone or emery board that may have been exposed previously.
- When you put on your shoes, make sure they are CLEAN AND DRY.
- Baring your feet in public areas can lead to a viral infection if the virus particles get into contact with our skin without protection from calloused soles.
This article discusses plantar warts/ verruca and how to treat them. If you experience any pain or difficulties with your feet, then it is important that you follow the steps outlined by your podiatrist. They should include home care and medications prescribed as well as necessary future appointments for check-ups. If your wart treatment isn’t working, further diagnostic evaluations by a foot doctor might be necessary to rule out other causes for the growth.
Instead of trying to remove warts themselves, you should be aware that these remedies are unproven and may even do more harm than good.
If you’re suffering from plantar warts, our doctors can help get rid of these pesky viruses. Please schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists in Katy, Cypress, Copperfield, Galleria, or Memorial. They are highly trained and experienced at treating this condition.