Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts (Verrucae Plantaris)

Nobody likes a wart and plantar warts can be a real problem, especially if they become painful and make normal activities, like walking, uncomfortable.

What is a Wart?

A wart is a small, contagious growth on the skin that develops when the skin is infected by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV). The infection occurs as a result of the skin coming in direct contact with the virus.  The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top layer of skin (epidermis). This extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.

What is a Plantar Wart?

Plantar Warts are warts that develop on the bottom surface, the plantar surface, of the foot and are most commonly seen in young children, adolescents and the elderly.

There are three types of warts that commonly affect the foot:

–          A solitary wart is a single wart. It often increases in size and may eventually multiply, forming additional ‘satellite’ warts.

–          A periungual wart is one that develops under and around the toenails. These warts can affect the shape of the toenail

–          Mosaic warts are a cluster of several small warts growing closely together in one area. These warts are often more difficult to treat than solitary warts.

How does the virus spread?

HPV is passed on through close skin-to-skin contact but can also be transmitted indirectly from contaminated objects or surfaces, such as areas surrounding a swimming pool, towels, shoes or floors of communal changing areas. You are more likely to get infected if your skin is wet, soft or has been in contact with a rough surface. Warts are thought to be contagious for as long as they are present on your body.

How do I know if I have a Plantar Wart?

Plantar warts normally have an array of signs and symptoms, which include:

Thickened skin:
Often a plantar wart resembles a callus or corn because of its tough, thick tissue.
A plantar wart will often be noticed when walking or standing, if it is in a particular prominent area, but are also known to be painful when squeezed.
Tiny black dots:
These often appear on the surface of a wart. The dots are actually dried blood contained in the capillaries that grow into and support the wart.
Skin striations:
Feet are covered, which are akin to fingerprints on the feet. Skin striae will go around a plantar wart; if the lesion is not a plantar wart, the striation continues across the top layer of skin.

What do I do if I have a Plantar Wart?

Most research states that a plantar wart can clear up without treatment, however it can take more than two years for the virus to disappear. There are numerous treatments available for warts, however, no single treatment is 100% effective. Here at Mullins Podiatry, we use a combination of sharp debridement of the viral tissue with potent Salicylic Acid and Cryotherapy. This will commence the process of reducing the viability of the surrounding tissue to become infected by the virus and introducing the virus to the body’s immune system.

If you think you have a plantar wart or have attempted Over-The-Counter products without any success, feel free to give the team at Mullins Podiatry a call today at one of our many locations.