Understanding Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts are raised, light-colored growths that find their home on the soles of the feet, most often on the heels or balls. In most cases, they are a bit annoying but will clear up on their own in a few weeks. Sometimes, the more persistent plantar warts will linger for months, growing out and up as well as down into the skin. In cases where a plantar wart grows extremely deep, it may be necessary to remove it through an outpatient surgical procedure.

Plantar Warts Causes

Plantar warts are caused by a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that enters the skin through small cuts or abrasions in the foot. Once the virus enters it finds the perfect environment to grow due to the temperature and moisture experienced in the foot area of most people. Plantar warts generally start up being small enough that they are difficult to notice. But as they grow and become more annoying, especially as you walk or step, most people want to have them removed as soon as possible.

Plantar warts appear as small raised spots of skin sometimes large enough to resemble cauliflower. Although not always, occasionally you will notice darker spots that show up as dots in warts. Seldom are planter’s warts a serious threat to your overall health. But, you should have them treated as soon as you notice them in order to prevent them from growing larger and becoming painful.

Plantar Warts Symptoms

Since most of us don’t regularly examine soles of our feet plantar warts have time to grow before we notice them. The first symptom is the feeling of something in your shoe even though you search and can find nothing. Upon further examination of the skin, you’ll notice small bumpy areas or ridges where the warts are formed. In addition, you also may notice dark dots on warts. Despite the notion that these are “wart seeds” they are actually just broken blood vessels.

Plantar warts also tend to flatten out as they grow while the skin becomes extremely tough. You may also notice that your plantar warts exhibit a brown or gray color. Finally, pain when walking is another very strong symptom, though it generally doesn’t occur until warts have grown significantly in size.

Your physician can almost always diagnose plantar warts with a simple visual inspection of your feet. He may choose to plane down a wart to see how it reacts and to check for pinpoint bleeding. If he is at all unsure, he will remove a section of the tissue and send it to a lab for a biopsy.

Plantar Warts Treatment

Home remedies are usually adequate as long as plantar warts have not spread too far or grown too deep. Over-the-counter wart treatments, for example, are very effective in killing the virus in removing the wart. Several non-medical treatments, such as the well-known duct tape treatment, have been proven effective as well.

In extremely persistent cases, you may require a doctor’s help in getting rid of your plantar warts. Those that have grown extremely deep will need to be removed using a standard surgical procedure. This is often rather painful – and sometimes multiple procedures are required. More commonly, however, doctors are able to remove plantar warts using cryotherapy. This treatment freezes the wart with liquid nitrogen, thus killing the tissue and allowing it to fall off on its own.

Other forms of treatment that may be utilized by your doctor include:

  • topical medication
  • laser surgery
  • injections
  • topical immunotherapy

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