Because we rely on our feet to support and stabilize us on a daily basis, they tend to become pretty tough. However, outside factors beyond wear and tear can affect the health of our feet, including the transmission of viruses. One of the conditions that may affect your feet is plantar warts which can be contracted through the outer layer of your skin when there is a cut, break, or weak area on the bottoms of your feet.
What Are Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are the result of contracting HPV entering the soles of your feet through tiny cuts, scrapes, or weakened spots. HPV is extremely common, but only a few strains cause warts on the bottoms of your feet. The strains which cause warts are not seriously contagious, but risk factors such as age, weakened immune systems, having had warts previously, and walking barefoot in areas like locker rooms increase the chances of getting the virus.
Essentially, plantar warts are small growths that appear on your heels or other weight-bearing areas of your foot. They can also grown inward underneath a callus.
How Do I Know If I have Plantar Warts?
There may not be severe pain similar to that which accompanies other conditions on your feet, so here are some common signs and symptoms that you may have plantar warts:
- Small, fleshy, rough, grainy growth (lesion) on the bottom of your foot, generally by the base of the toes/forefoot or by the heel
- Callus over a well-defined spot
- Black pinpoints (wart seeds)
- Lesion that appears in lines or ridges of the skin
- Pain and tenderness while walking/standing
While seeing a doctor about plantar warts is not absolutely necessary, you definitely should seek medical attention if the lesion is bleeding, at-home wart treatment does not work or makes it worse, the discomfort prevents you from engaging in normal activities, you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, or you aren’t sure the lesion is actually a wart.
Are Plantar Warts Treatable?
Yes, but most of the time warts will go away on their own eventually. This will likely take time (about a year or two) without any treatment. You can use over-the-counter wart medications or home remedies as well, but don’t be surprised if it takes multiple treatments.
You may want to seek medical treatment from your doctor or podiatrist if the at-home remedies do not work. A foot doctor can recommend such treatments as peeling medicine like salicylic acid), freezing medicine (cryotherapy), other acids such as trichloroacetic acid, immune therapy, minor surgery involving an electric needle, laser treatment, or the HPV vaccine. Contact our expert foot doctors at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute for information on all of the treatments we offer for plantar warts.
How Can I Prevent Getting Plantar Warts?
While plantar warts are not deadly and will dissipate on their own, you can work to prevent getting or spreading them. You will want to:
- Prevent direct contact with warts, including your own
- Wash your hands thoroughly, especially after touching a wart
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Change your shoes and socks every day
- Avoid walking barefoot at swimming pools or locker rooms
- Don’t pick at or scratch warts
- Have separate emery boards, pumice stones, and clippers for healthy skin and skin with warts
Taking preventative measures will decrease your likelihood of contracting plantar warts and will save you time and energy dealing with them.
Contact Our Provo, Utah, Foot Clinic
At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute, our foot clinic has the resources and treatments available to help you deal with your plantar warts. If you have tried to eliminate them from your feet but have been unsuccessful or you simply want to find out if the calluses you have are warts, contact our expert podiatrists in Utah. We will get you back on your feet in no time!