Plantar warts may not be the most glamorous topic, but if you've ever experienced the pain and discomfort they can cause, you know just how important it is to understand, prevent, and treat these pesky growths. Read on to learn more.
The specialists at Optima Foot and Ankle in Bend, Oregon, have diagnosed and treated a lot of plantar warts in their day and can attest that many patients don't realize they have them.
Plantar warts are a common skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can enter the body through small cuts or breaks in the skin. While they can be painful, plantar warts can be treated effectively with the help of your podiatrist.
How plantar warts develop
Plantar warts develop when the HPV virus enters the body through the soles of the feet. This is most likely to occur in areas that are warm and moist, such as public swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers.
Once the virus enters the body, it can take several months for a plantar wart to develop. During this time, the virus may be dormant and undetectable.
What are the symptoms of plantar warts?
Plantar warts are characterized by a thickened area of skin on the sole of the foot. They may have a rough, scaly surface and may be tender or painful to the touch. In some cases, they may also have small black dots, which are actually small blood vessels that have grown into the wart.
Plantar warts can cause discomfort when standing or walking, and they may spread to other areas of the foot if left untreated.
Why you might not see a plantar wart
Plantar warts can sometimes be difficult to see, especially if they are small or located in an area that is not easily visible. In some cases, a plantar wart may be hidden beneath a callus or thickened area of skin, making it difficult to detect.
Additionally, the HPV virus may be dormant and undetectable for a period of time, which can delay the onset of visible symptoms.
How are plantar warts diagnosed and treated?
A podiatrist can diagnose plantar warts by examining the foot and looking for signs of a wart. Sometimes, a small biopsy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Once a plantar wart has been diagnosed, there are several treatment options available. These may include:
- Over-the-counter treatments, such as salicylic acid
- Freezing or burning the wart off with a laser or chemical treatment
Your Optima Foot and Ankle podiatrists can determine the best course of treatment based on the size and location of the wart and your overall health.
Can plantar warts be prevented?
Preventing plantar warts can be difficult, but there are some steps that can help reduce your risk of infection. This includes:
- Wearing flip-flops or sandals in public showers and pool areas
- Avoiding direct contact with someone with a plantar wart
- Keeping feet clean and dry
It's also important to avoid picking at or scratching any warts that may be present, as this can cause the virus to spread to other areas of the foot.
For plantar wart diagnosis and treatment and for all your foot care needs, contact Optima Foot and Ankle to request an appointment online.