A plantar wart (verruca plantaris) is a wart caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is a small lesion that appears on the sole of the foot and typically resembles a cauliflower.
A plantar wart may have small black specks within it that bleed when the surface is cut or shaved; these are abnormal capillaries or blood vessels feeding the wart.
Though the name plantar wart describes specifically HPV infection on the sole of the foot, infection by the virus is possible anywhere on the body and common especially on the palm of the hand, where the appearance of the wart is often exactly as described above for plantar warts. Because of pressure on the sole of the foot, a layer of hard skin forms over the wart.
A plantar wart may or may not be painful. It can be spread in showers, around swimming pools, by sharing shoes, etc. Plantar warts, can often be differentiated from corns by close observation of the skin lines. Feet, like hands, are covered in skin lines or “fingerprints”. With plantar warts, the skin “fingerprints” go around the lesion. If the lesion is not a plantar wart, the fingerprints continue across the top layer of the skin.
Plantar warts tend to be painful on with pressure from either side of the lesion rather than direct pressure. Corns tend to be painful on direct pressure rather than pressure from either side. The difference between plantar warts and warts on other parts of the body is that warts are generally outgrowth lesions, but on the bottom of the foot, they are pushed inward by the pressure of walking.
Since the skin on the bottom of the foot tends to be thicker, the treatment of plantar warts is more difficult.When discussing treatments, no treatment in common use is 100% effective.
Podiatrists are considered specialists in the treatment of plantar warts. Although immunization is available for the HPV and strains causing cervical cancer, there is currently no vaccination treatment for plantar warts.
The treatment of warts by keratolysis involves the peeling away of dead surface skin cells with chemicals like Canthacure (canthiridin, derived from a blistering beetle) or trichloroacetic acid or salicylic acid. Cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen is a common treatment that works by producing a blister under the wart. It is painful but usually nonscarring. Lasers utilized in the operating room are also a great option.
Surgical excision of the wart is a last resort option but appears to be the most definitive for recalcitrant lesions.
Dr. Silvers have extensive training in using these products as well as surgical options concerning warts. Patiently waiting may be appropriate since many warts will eventually resolve due to the patient’s own immune system.
In many cases, the body will become naturally immune to the wart and the verrucæ will fall off, although it can be months to years before this takes place.Warts may spread, develop into clusters or fuse to become a mosaic wart. Plantar warts can be painful making it difficult to walk and run. Overaggressive treatment may lead to scarring. Others may get infected. If a wart is being treated professionally and does not seem to improve in a reasonable period of time, the growth should be excised and biopsied.
Avoid walking barefoot in public areas such as showers and public changing rooms. Change shoes and socks daily.
Avoid sharing shoes and socks. Avoid direct contact with warts on other parts of body.
Avoid direct contact with warts on other persons.
If you have a painful plantar’s wart and are seeking treatment, please come visit Advanced Foot and Ankle.