What are plantar warts?
A wart is an infection of the skin that is caused by a virus.
There are different kinds of warts that a person can developed depending on where the infection occurs.
A plantar wart typically appears on the sole of a persons feet.
What do they look like?
Plantar warts can be small and are usually the size on the back of a pencil. But, plantar warts can grow much bigger.
Sometimes different wart colonies can come together to form one big wart that we call a Mosaic wart.
Warts are sometimes mistaken for corns or calluses because they are also covered by a thick layer of skin. Warts however, will have small black dots inside them. These dots are blood capillaries that have grown into the wart and become blocked with minor clots.
How do I get plantar wart?
Warts spread from person to person.
Warts can spread indirectly between people. Indirect transmission can be by sharing of socks, shoes or through the use of public bathing areas such a gym showers and pools.
Children and the Elderly are at risk of developing
warts, this is because their immune systems are not strong enough to detect and kill the wart virus.
What are the treatment options for plantar warts?
There are many different ways to treat a plantar wart, however podiatrists have a specific way to treat these conditions.
A podiatrist will first have to examine the skin to make sure that it really is a wart and not a corn or callus.
The podiatrist will then discuss these options with you.
The hard skin that grows over the wart is removed with a blade. An acid is then applied to the wart. The acid is covered with a non-breathable dressing that ensures the skin cannot breath to prevent the spread of the acid to healthy skin but mainly to suffocate the wart infected tissue and breakdown the infected skin.
The hard skin is removed. A cold substance is applied to the wart. The cold causes damage to the infected skin. The damage to the skin results in an inflammatory response that stimulates your immune system to detect, attack and kill the viral tissue.
Sometimes it might be necessary to cut out the wart. In this case a podiatrist will administer a local anesthetic injection around the wart to numb the skin around the wart. A scalpel is then used to remove the wart from the skin.
A skin and nail laser can also be used to remove the wart. Again the skin around the wart would need to be made numb with the use of anesthetic. the wart is then burnt off with a laser.
What can I expect after treatment?
Most of these treatments do cause some kind of pain or discomfort.
Usually you would be required to keep the area dressed with aseptic dressings for 4 days and then for another 10-14 days. However, this may change as per your podiatrists preferences and experiences.
How do I prevent warts?
Avoid sharing socks and shoes (especially in the case of young children).
Use flip-flop sandals when showering in gyms, its also important to change these shoes on a regular basis i.e every 6 weeks.
Keep your immune system strong and healthy with a good diet and regular exercise.
Manage stress, stress over long periods of time can cause your immune system to become depressed and weak leading to a greater risk of infections.
Important note on warts.
Since they are viral infections warts can affect any person at any stage of their lives. It is not a condition that occurs from poor hygiene but rather is related to a low immune response.
It is important to have your health screened by your healthcare team to prevent warts from returning or occurring.