Plantar Warts: Causes and Treatments

Although it can be quite tempting to go barefoot this summer, it can also put you at risk of contracting a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV) known as verruca, or plantar warts. Viruses thrive in warm, moist places such as public bathrooms or swimming pools, and can occur as a result of direct contact with the virus (commonly through tiny cuts or abrasions on your feet).

While it’s nearly impossible to avoid contact in the general public, it’s important to note that exposure is common, especially in younger children who have yet to build up an immunity, and tend to spread the virus among their friends and family. Therefore, while you should always keep your feet protected by wearing shoes or flip-flops in public places, it’s also important to make sure that communal surfaces at home, as well as your socks and shoes, are being disinfected to prevent the virus from spreading.

Remember: every person’s immune system is different, so a person’s response to the virus will be different, too, even if they’re from the same family.

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Plantar warts are generally small, fleshy growths on the bottom of your feet and are often mistaken for plantar corns or calluses, due to the thicker skin that tends to develop. A plantar wart, however, will generally have the appearance of tiny black dots near the surface caused by capillary hemorrhages that form underneath the skin. As a general rule, we suggest patients to seek treatment from a podiatrist, as attempting to remove them at home can lead to serious problems, such as infection, if removed incorrectly.

Once in the office, plantar warts are easy to diagnose and may require a simple scraping of the skin or biopsy to confirm. After that, there are several different treatment options to consider, such as: topical acids, liquid nitrogen, YDL laser, or an excision(s). Depending on the size of the wart and quantity, all of these options are available and your podiatrist will be able to discuss which treatment will work best for you.

If you or someone you know believes they may have a plantar wart, feel free to contact our office at (248)348-5300 or request an appointment on our website. Our podiatrists, Marc A. Borovoy, DPM, and John D. Miller, DPM, are experts in all areas of foot and ankle care, and will be happy to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.

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