Plantar Warts Treatment

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Warts can crop up in a range of different shapes and sizes, and can range from minor visual nuisance to a painful or sore irritation. Plantar Warts are, unfortunately, warts of the later persuasion. Plantar Warts develop on the bottom of your feet, where your body weight presses them into your foot, causing some sufferers an unpleasant degree of pain.

What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are like other warts in that they are caused by the same virus, the human papillomavirus (HPV), and take on the characteristic appearance of warts in that they are rough and can grow in cauliflower head like clusters. However plantar warts are defined by their position on the soles of your feet, where they start off as what look like small puncture wounds, black in colour and sometimes very hard to discern. Given time however, they become all too visible as brown and rough looking growths. These will often have a black hole in the middle as a result of bleeding which is an unfortunate consequence of where these warts grow. You spend a lot of your time placing a lot of weight on your feet as you walk, and this weight presses your feet into these warts which can be fairly painful and typifies the condition.

Plantar warts can easily be mistaken for calluses, and since most of us don’t regularly check our feet for signs of infection, these warts can be overlooked until the first feelings of pain whilst walking as the growths dig into the sole of your foot. The key differences between a plantar wart and calluses or corns is that while calluses will be completely smooth, plantar warts will have rough surfaces and very specific boundaries. Furthermore plantar warts will have the tell-tale black pin points which are in fact blood vessels.

What causes plantar warts?

Warts are caused by a viral infection, and the culprit is the very diverse human papillomavirus. Commonly abbreviated to HPV, the virus causes warts by infecting an area of skin and causing skin cells affected to grow at an exaggerated rate. The result is a small growth which you see as a wart, and which in the vast majority of cases will be perfectly benign and removable. The rare cases in which an HPV infection is a cause for concern is in people who are suffering from an immune disease. There are actually over 130 different types of HPV, and the ones responsible for plantar warts are most often types one and two.

How do you get plantar warts?

How you can get the HPV infection that leads to plantar warts comes down to the fondness the virus has for the warm and moist environments in which it can best survive and grow. HPV can often be caught from shared surfaces like those in changing rooms and bathrooms, where the environment is perfect for viral growth and many people make regular contact with surfaces. The virus will normally make its way in through breaks in the skin of your feet. Unlike other warts the plantar variety are not transmitted by person to person contact as much because foot to foot contact tends to be quite limited.

Can plantar warts be treated?

Despite the pain while walking which might suggest otherwise, there is actually nothing to worry about if you suffer from plantar warts. There are plenty of treatments around, both over the counter and by prescription. Even untreated most cases of plantar warts will resolve themselves on their own, but the pain involved can drive you to seek treatment, the most effective of which is often salicylic acid creams and gels which can treat the warts within a few weeks by breaking down infected cells. This type of treatment is often enough for most people, however if you are looking for a more intensive solution then your doctor can suggest or arrange procedures like cryotherapy, the freezing off of warts through liquid nitrogen, electrosurgery, the boiling off of a wart by means of an electric current, and laser treatment, which involves using a laser to heat up blood vessels within a wart to kill it off.

How can I prevent plantar warts?

You can prevent plantar warts by maintaining good foot hygiene. Remember that the virus likes warm and moist surfaces that lots of people walk over, so keep your feet clean and direct contact with surfaces that meet these criteria to a minimum. You can often prevent a plantar wart from developing by applying a plaster to it, allowing your body to do its job and get rid of the infection. For some people it can be particularly hard to avoid infection from HPV because of a natural susceptibility to the virus, and if you find yourself particularly prone to warts then it is all the more important that you keep your feet clean and off of communal surfaces that can harbour HPV. Protective footwear is a cost effective and efficient way of keeping your feet healthy and clear of infection.

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