Plantar warts are one of the most unpleasant types of skin conditions. Appearing on the sole of the foot, mostly in areas of maximum pressure and friction, these little growths can prove to be quite the nuisance. If you want to learn more about this condition, read on.
What causes plantar warts on feet?
The main cause of the appearance of plantar warts is the so-called “human papillomavirus” In case of planter warts, the virus infects the surface layers of skin, predominantly on the heel and balls of the feet, as well as in any other areas of the sole which experience constant or repeated pressure and friction, and produces a small, often painful growth, resembling a callus.
While plantar warts on feet are often self-limited and resolve themselves over time with no required medical attention, they are still treated to reduce their duration, eliminate the symptoms or the risk of infecting others. More complete therapy is usually deemed necessary if the warts are especially painful or easily irritated and disrupt the sufferer’s ability to walk properly.
Plantar warts are most common in children 12-16 years of age. The main risk factors for plantar warts include skin trauma of the soles, a weakened immune system, and frequent use of public showers.
Main symptoms of plantar warts
Plantar warts usually take the form of firm, rough, bumpy, and spongy lesions on the heel or balls of the foot. Tiny black spots may be noticeable inside. These lesions are usually flat due to constant pressure and have a brown of gray-yellow coloration. Particularly large lesions usually cause pain which feels like a lump under the skin. Occasionally, trying to apply minimal pressure to the affected areas can lead to an incorrect posture, which, in turn, can cause leg or even back pain.
Treatment of plantar warts on feet can be divided into self-care and professional medical attention. Generally, it is recommended to try self-care methods, turning to professional therapy only if self-care methods prove ineffective. Also keep in mind that most plantar warts heal themselves over time, so drastic measures are generally not recommended except on the most severe cases
- The main cause of pain in a plantar wart is the nerves agitated by the pressure from the hardened skin that makes up the lesions. Periodically removing the top layer of the lesions with abrasive materials like pumice stone or carefully paring it away with a callus trimmer is both painless and effective.
- Many drug stores sell special doughnut-shaped pieces of moleskin that can be put over the warts to relieve the pain.
- Salicylic acid preparations are a popular over-the-counter anti-wart measure. There are many different brands of such medication, so be sure to carefully read the instructions regarding application. An excessive amount of any such substance may cause chemical burn on the skin surrounding the warts. Soak the affected areas in warm water before applying the acid and regularly remove loose tissue from the wart.
Home plantar wart medication is a slow process and it can take from a few weeks to a few months to completely cure the warts.
Several professional medical procedures are available for the treatment of plantar warts on feet.
- Acid treatment is one of the most effective, but is usually the slowest.
- Cryotherapy is rapidly gaining popularity due to its speed. The wart is frozen by applying liquid nitrogen to it. As a result, the wart blackens and usually falls off on its own after a few days.
- Surgical excision is generally not recommended, as it causes scarring, and warts are known to recur in scar tissue.