We treat patients from across our Twin Falls, ID community for a wide range of foot and ankle conditions. As can be expected, some tend to be more prevalent than others. Ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendinitis are all rather common, but so too are plantar warts.
It is a fairly common belief that most people will develop a wart at some during his or her lifetime. The good news about these growths is that they are often non-threatening and will disappear on their own. Since they can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort, and may take a long time before they go away, we are proud to offer effective treatment for our patients.
Recognizing Plantar Wart Symptoms and Causes
The most recognizable symptom of a plantar wart is the wart itself. These viral growths have a rough, grainy appearance and are commonly found on the bottom of a foot. It is often possible to see tiny black dots, which are usually mistakenly thought of as “seeds.” In fact, these are simply tiny, clotted blood vessels. When a plantar wart grows on the bottom of a foot, it can cause tenderness, discomfort, or even pain while standing or walking.
In order to prevent an issue from developing, it is always helpful to know what causes it. In the case of warts, the root cause is not frogs or witches (as certain myths and fairy tales would suggest), but rather a fairly common virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus thrives in environments that are warm and moist. Since HPV requires an entrance point into the skin, individuals who have cuts, cracks, scrapes, or skin that has become softened and fragile from spending time in water are especially at risk.
Plantar Wart Treatment and Prevention
As we look at treating plantar warts, it is important to begin with saying that you should not attempt to treat these viral growths on your own if you have diabetes. When you find one during the course of your daily foot inspection, cover the wart with a clean bandage (to prevent the virus from spreading) and contact our office to make an appointment.
If you do not have a condition that affects your autoimmune system like diabetes, you can attempt to use home treatment practices. These include over-the-counter (OTC) kits found in retail stores and pharmacies or “the duct tape method.” When using OTC kits, be sure to take precautions to protect unaffected skin from salicylic acid.
The duct tape method of removing warts is to cover the wart for six days with silver duct tape, then removing the tape and soaking the foot in water. Following the soak, gently remove dead skin with the use of an emery board or pumice stone. Leave the wart exposed for 12 hours before repeating the process.
Of course, your best course of action for effective wart treatment is to simply have our professionals handle it for you here in our Twin Falls podiatrist office. We can discuss your options and create a plan that will work best for you.
Even though we can provide effective care for a plantar wart here in our office, we find that most patients would simply prefer not to have one in the first place. You can reduce your odds of ending up with a wart by adhering to the following guidelines:
- Avoid making direct contact with a wart, including your own. If you do, be sure to wash your hands (or other body parts) carefully.
- Wear shower shoes or sandals in common areas where the wart-causing virus can be found, including gym shower and indoor swimming pools.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear fresh socks every day.
- Do not use the same equipment on your healthy skin that you used on a wart. (Using a disposable emery board is one way to avoid this situation.)