Have warts have appeared on the soles of your feet and now you’re wondering how they got there and how to get rid of them? The appearance of these growths is a result of a virus, which means they have everything to do with your immune system.
To help you better understand the relationship between plantar warts and your immune system, the team of foot health experts here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle is going to spend some time here discussing the connection.
The first thing to understand about plantar warts is that they’re caused by a viral infection, namely the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 150 different types of HPV, and each has a preference in where it attacks. That is why you can develop warts on your hands, face, genitals, and feet.
HPV is contagious, and you can pick up the virus almost anywhere. When it comes to plantar warts, the virus is often spread in public places where you might go barefoot (think locker rooms and swimming pools).
In many cases, your immune system quickly fights off the virus long before outward signs, such as warts develop. If, however, your immune system is slow to recognize or respond to the HPV strain, you’re more likely to develop warts.
That point is an important one for people who may be immunocompromised, which renders them more susceptible to viral infections like plantar warts. For that reason, if you have issues with your immune system, it’s essential to protect your feet when there’s a risk of exposure (wear shoes in the locker room and don’t share towels, as examples).
Immunocompromisation isn’t the only reason you may develop warts — you may be overly exposed to the virus. If you spend a considerable amount of time with people who are shedding the virus and you don’t protect your feet properly, the virus may overwhelm your immune system’s ability to fight it off.
As well, even if you have a healthy immune system, the virus strikes your epidermis (the outer layer of your skin) and your immune system may have trouble identifying the infection since it primarily monitors your dermis (the layer below the surface).
We offer several treatments for plantar warts, including:
These treatments are designed to clear away existing warts. But they also play a role in helping your immune system to recognize and destroy the virus in the future.
The more we can help your body recognize the HPV causing your plantar warts, the more it can mount a defense against the invasion in the future.
If you still have questions about the link between plantar warts and your immune system or you’d like to get rid of existing warts, please contact one of our conveniently located offices in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, Columbia, Pulaski, and Lebanon, Tennessee.