Foot Warts and Plantar Warts
Foot warts are usually harmless, but they can be painful. Foot warts often are mistaken for corns or calluses. A wart is different from a corn or callus, however. Corns and calluses are caused by some sort of irritation. They are basically just places where the skin builds up to protect an irritated area. A wart is caused by a viral infection. The infection invades the skin through cuts and abrasions. The cuts and abrasions can be so small as to be almost invisible.
Warts usually raised and fleshy in appearance. A wart can occur anywhere on the foot or toes. On occasion, a wart can spontaneously disappear after a short time. However, they frequently reccur in the same location. Left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference. It is also possible for a wart to spread into clusters of warts. Adults are less likely to contract warts than children. Children and teenagers are the most common wart sufferers.
Plantar warts, also known as verrucas, occur on the soles of the feet. Plantar warts are one of several soft tissue conditions which can be very painful. Unlike other foot warts, plantar warts tend to be hard and flat. Plantar warts typically are made up of a rough surface and have obvious boundaries. Plantar warts usually gray or brown in color, but not always. The color can vary. They often have a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black. You can contract a wart by walking without shoes or socks on unclean surfaces. The virus that causes plantar warts to form flourishes in warm, moist areas, which is why warts are so often picked up in public pools and locker rooms.
Like other infectious lesions, plantar warts can be spread by touching, scratching, or even by coming in contact with skin shed from another wart. The wart may also bleed, which can spread the virus as well. Plantar warts that occur on weight-bearing areas of the foot, like the ball of the foot or the heel, can be painful. It is usually a sharp, burning pain. Pain occurs when you bear weight on the wart, but pressure put on the sides of a wart can create a pain that is equally intense.
To help prevent spreading the virus and, therefore, warts:
- Try not to come into direct contact with warts. This means another person's wart or even by touching a wart on your own body to another part of your body.
- Try not to walk barefoot, unless it is on a beach.
- Change your shoes and socks often.
- Inspect your child's feet frequently for signs of warts.
- Follow the basic foot care guidelines. Always maintain clean, dry feet.
Warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to come back even after treatment. Over-the-counter wart treatments are often not effective and can actually destroy healthy tissue around the wart. Please contact our office for help in effectively treating warts. At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, we can recommend the most appropriate treatment for your case. The treatment may be a prescription ointment or other medication or, in the worst cases, laser cautery.