Those individuals who frequent public pools, gyms, and other community locations where water and showers are common will know that one of the ever-present concerns is the spread of plantar warts.
Are plantar warts contagious? Yes! They are highly contagious, and any direct contact with this virus (Human Papillomavirus (HPV infection)) can cause an individual to become infected. Although most plantar warts will usually disappear on their own over time, they sometimes stick around and become painful. That is when patients may need to seek medical treatment for plantar warts from a trained physician or attempt some at-home remedies.
At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Eagle Mountain, Utah, our podiatric specialists understand the risk factors that some people may have for contracting the viral infection that causes plantar warts and the most effective plantar wart treatment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our foot health experts and discuss the suitable options for treating plantar warts.
What Are Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are growths on the sole of your foot caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). You may contract plantar warts through direct contact with someone else with a plantar wart or through a shared surface which someone with the virus has walked. Everyone’s immune system will react differently to the virus, so you may not develop warts after exposure.
Plantar warts are about the size of a pencil’s eraser, but they can be bigger or grow in clusters. They are often mistaken for calluses because they are flat, hard spots on the sole. They are commonly found in warm and moist environments, so the locker room, pool, and showers are frequent virus exposure locations. You will often see a black spot in the center of the wart caused by tiny blood vessels in the wart that supplies it with blood and nutrients.
Causes of Painful Plantar Warts
The quickest way to spread and infect others is through direct contact with a plantar wart. Otherwise, they can be spread through indirect contacts such as towels, bath mats, shower stall floors, and other community locations where individuals may share a space.
Those with a history of warts, teenagers, children, individuals who frequent gyms and pools, and those with a suppressed immune system are at higher risk of contracting warts.
How to Treat Plantar Warts
The best way to treat warts on your feet will depend on your situation. Our foot and ankle specialists will examine your plantar warts and decide which treatments are right for you to ensure you can keep your feet healthy and pain-free. Below are some of the most common treatments to remove plantar warts (or other warts) from infected tissue on your feet.
Non-Surgical Removal Methods
When you visit our physicians at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Eagle Mountain, Utah, we will evaluate your health circumstances and recommend multiple treatments that could be used, which are non-surgical.
Our team will never jump straight to surgical options without using less invasive techniques. We have topical treatments, laser treatments, and mild acids that all work to remove plantar warts for you to no longer has to deal with mosaic warts’ pain or unappealing nature.
Our foot and ankle specialists will discuss the following non-surgical treatments to fight viral warts:
- Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen (freezing medicine)
- Prescription-strength wart medications such as salicylic acid
- Injection with an immune therapy antigen or cream from your physician
- Trichloroacetic acid treatment from your doctor followed by at-home treatment with salicylic acid
If these treatments do not produce the results you were looking for, our team may recommend minor surgery to remove plantar warts.
Surgically Removing Plantar Warts
If surgical treatment (known as curettage) is recommended, you will be placed under a local anesthetic to remove your foot’s entire wart and wart tissue. Once the wart tissue is removed, and healthy skin is exposed, the area will be treated with phenol to burn the wart tissue, and silver nitrate stops the bleeding. Within a week or two post-surgery, you should normally be walking, and your pain will likely be significantly reduced or eliminated.
At-Home Treatments for Plantar Warts
There are a couple of over-the-counter treatment options that you can do at home rather than making a trip to the podiatrist. Most over-the-counter options include a small concentration of salicylic acid or a freezing kit. These treatments are not always successful, and you should always follow the directions on the packaging as closely as possible. If there is a problem or the wart is not removed, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Some other at-home remedies have been passed down through the ages (and across the internet), but they are often unsuccessful and potentially harmful. Things such as suffocating the wart with duct tape or using apple cider vinegar are usually not beneficial because they do not induce a response from the immune system to fight the virus. What often happens is skin irritation and infection.
The absolute best option is to prevent warts from forming on your feet in the first place. You can take precautions to prevent the spread of cutaneous warts by wearing flip-flops in public showers, changing your socks every day, and making sure not to share towels or shoes with anyone who may have them.
Contact Our Foot and Ankle Specialists to Learn about Wart Removal Techniques
If you or a loved one suffers from painful plantar warts and needs a medical professional’s help, contact the experts at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Eagle Mountain, Utah. Contact us at 801-756-4200 today to schedule your appointment! We have the experience, knowledge, and expertise to help you remove plantar warts and make sure that they do not come back.