Plantar warts are small rough skin growth caused by a viral HPV (human papillomavirus) infection, which is the most common viral infection of the skin. Walking barefoot is a risk factor since the virus enters the skin often on the heels or soles of the feet through thin breaks or cuts on the feet. They often appear to be similar to other skin lesions such as small calluses or porokeratosis. However, warts differ in the clinical presentation of having no skin lines, a peppered grainy appearance, and black pinpoint deposits or bleeding when debrided. These wart lesions may also be tender when located on plantar weight bearing surfaces. It is best to have your podiatrist diagnose and treat a plantar wart to efficiently remove the wart as self-wart removal may do more harm than good and may also reoccur.
Most plantar warts are harmless and may have spontaneous remission within a year or two. When warts are painful/spread/reoccur it is best to treat them by completely removing the wart.
The following are various treatments that your podiatrist may consider which may also require repeated treatments:
- Cryotherapy (with liquid nitrogen) at 2 and 4 week intervals. The freezing destroys the cells that contain the virus and also stimulate an immune response to fight the viral warts.
- Salicylic acid or acetic acids – a peeling medication that removes the skin layers containing the wart.
- Cantharone (Cantharidin) every 2 weeks for a total of 4 applications.
- Electrcodesiccation and curettage – this minor surgery requires local anesthetic and may also leave a scar as it involves cutting away the wart.
- CO2 laser – burns the wart off and may also cause scarring of the skin.
Remember to take preventative actions for plantar warts by avoid walking barefoot especially in public area such as the pool or shower rooms. Some warts may be treated with over-the-counter treatments but they often reoccur or do not work. If you notice that you are having these stubborn painful plantar warts, call your podiatrist today to step in the right direction of becoming wart free!
Please visit our website for more information or call 614-885-3338 (FEET) to schedule an appointment with us at our Columbus, Gahanna or Dublin, OH office.