Warts, also known as verruca vulgaris, are caused by a virus on the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body and in the lower extremity they are most commonly found on the bottom of the foot (plantar warts). Plantar warts can be picked up by having direct contact with the virus through many ways such as walking barefoot around swimming pools and showers. Moist, sweaty feet prove to be an optimal environment for plantar warts to grow, so it is important to control moisture in your feet by using an antiperspirant. They are definitely contagious and most commonly found in children, so if your child has one, make sure you seek immediate attention.
How do you diagnose a plantar wart?
Plantar warts are diagnosed clinically by your podiatrist. Typically, there is thick, callused skin which bleed when they are shaved down. They can occur as solo spots and turn into larger clusters and spread throughout the foot. It can look like there are black dots in the middle of the callus and the lesions are typically painful. Patients can misinterpret the black dots in the middle as “roots” for the plantar wart. Plantar warts do not have roots though, they are not attached to bone or soft tissue, they are just beneath the layer of skin. A biopsy can be performed in atypical cases or in cases that are not healing with treatment.
How do you treat a plantar wart?
Plantar warts are treated in a variety of ways. Depending on the location and the amount of pain, over the counter medications may help. They are not strong though, so if the plantar wart is on the bottom of the foot where skin is very thick, the over the counter medication won’t penetrate deep enough. Here at Advanced Podiatry, we have a variety of treatment options. We can surgically excise the plantar wart, which is done with local anesthesia and in the office. It is a very minor procedure that requires about 15 minutes. There is a medication made out of beetle juice which is an acid and can kill the plantar wart by applying it there. Another way is to do serial debridements (shaving off layers of skin) and applying a medication to stop the bleeding. New technology, such as laser therapy can be used to zap away the plantar warts. There are oral pills that may be taken in conjunction with treatments as well as creams that can help rid your foot of a plantar wart.
If you suspect a plantar wart in your foot or your childs, come in immediately so we can provide a customizable treatment plan based on your needs. Call us at 813-875-0555 today!
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