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Understanding Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are abnormal growths seen on the bottoms of feet when they develop. Also known as verrucae warts, plantar warts are so common it’s estimated that nearly everyone will have at least one at some point. Caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), plantar warts can contribute to hard, thick layers of skin. While self-care is often effective, some of these warts respond better to professional care.

Symptoms and Transmission Plantar warts first appear as small, rough growths on the bottom of a foot, often around the heel or by the base of toes. If a foot wart becomes ingrown, a callus may form. Additional signs and symptoms associated with verrucae warts include:

  • “Wart seeds,” or black pinpoints caused by clotted blood vessels

  • Pain and/or tenderness that makes walking or standing difficult

  • A growth that clearly disrupts natural foot lines

When to Visit a Doctor Plantar warts may not be the most “dangerous” foot problem you can contract, but there’s a reason they’re so common and spread so easily.

The logic for getting your warts treated as soon as possible is simple: the longer you have a wart, the more time it has to spread. Getting rid of them now is as much a preventative care option as an “active” care option. Warts can take months or years to disappear on their own, and home care methods tend to have very low success rates. That’s why we usually recommend you skip straight to professional care. We have several different treatment options for plantar warts, and can help you select one that is the best fit for your condition and your lifestyle. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor or specialist if you have diabetes or a similar condition that affects circulation and presents certain risks that need to be considered. Additionally, you’ll want to see a doctor if plantar warts are affecting your ability to get around because of discomfort when pressure is placed on your foot.

Treatment Options for Plantar Warts Wart medications with peeling medicine (salicylic acid) may be prescribed to facilitate the process of removing plantar warts. Other acids may be used as well. This is usually done in a doctor’s office since the use of liquid nitrogen could be an uncomfortable removal method if the affected area isn’t numbed first. Other treatment options that may be used for plantar warts include: Keeping your feet clean and dry is one way you can reduce your risk of having issues with plantar warts. If you have existing verrucae warts that are healing, avoid direct contact with them so they don’t spread or develop nearby. Also, when you use a public shower or one that’s used by other people in your household, wear shower thongs or shoes to minimize your risk of developing plantar warts.

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