FOOT WARTS! (aka Plantar Warts)
David Collard DPM MHA
“Eeeeeeew!” is the usual response I get when I talk to people about warts on the foot when I’m outside of the office, such as while spending time with friends at BBQ’s, dinner parties, etc. But warts aren’t all that gross and you shouldn’t feel bad if you have one, or (more commonly) if your child has one. Warts are very common in kids, and occasionally do occur in younger adults as well. They can be very painful when they are on the bottom of the foot.
When this is the case, we call them “Plantar warts.” They are caused by a virus. Yes, a virus in your foot! It is the human papillomavirus (HPV). You may be thinking “put on the brakes! It’s an STD?!” No, this isn’t an STD. There are many different types of HPV. Think of them like cousins to each other. The ones that cause warts on the foot are NOT STDs, and are from types 1, 2, 4, 60 or 63. (Genital warts are usually from HPV types 6 or 11.)
Plantar warts thrive in warm, wet environments, like public swimming pools and locker rooms. They usually get passed around by direct contact, most likely through small cuts or breaks in the outer layers of the skin–something you may not even see or feel. Once the virus gets in, it can be very difficult to get rid of.
How can I prevent plantar warts?
Prevention is to avoid going barefoot in public areas that stay warm and wet. Wear flip flops and sandals (one of the only times you’ll hear me say that).
Your body may fight it off, but if it doesn’t, you may find yourself trying some home remedies.
These are some I have encountered patients doing but don’t advocate:
After these don’t work, you may find yourself in the pharmacy looking at all of the wart removers on the shelf, thinking “now I’m gonna get you!” And if those don’t work, you will probably eventually find yourself in one of my chairs months later wondering where it all went wrong and how you can be free of it.
There is hope!
There are several different treatments available that physicians may use. Some like to use acids, freezing sprays, burn them, or even cut them out, all with varied success.
We offer patients a few options on how to treat their warts. Most of the warts we see are effectively treated with 1-2 treatments in our office and are usually completely gone in two weeks. Very, very rarely do we ever have stubborn ones that need further treatment or even to be cut out.
Our office treatments are very effective, so you or your child do not have to go along suffering with a painful wart. You can quickly forget all that business about having HPV on the bottom of your foot. Eeeeeeew!
If you or someone you know has a wart on their foot, we are here to help. Contact us and schedule an appointment today.