Plantar Wart Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment
When plantar warts occur, it can impact your ability to go about living your life and doing the things you love.
In addition to causing physical discomfort, plantar warts can also cause emotional distress, so it’s important to learn about their symptoms, prevention, and treatment methods.
What Is a Plantar Wart?
A plantar wart is a thickened skin growth on the bottom of the foot that often resembles a callus. Plantar warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), sometimes called verrucas. and usually occur in individuals with a weakened immune system.
According to recent research, HPV induces keratin to accumulate on the skin, which can lead to warts.
Warm, damp places like locker room floors and swimming pools are ideal for HPV. Those little puddles on top of pool tiles are fertile ground for HPV. Viral transmission occurs through direct contact and is more likely if you have cracks on your skin.
What Causes Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause other immune system disorders. The HPV virus is spread through contact with affected skin, and plantar warts usually occur on weight-bearing areas of the feet. As a result, plantar warts are often mistaken for mosaic warts, clusters of tiny clotted blood vessels.
Natural Remedies for Plantar Warts
Some clinical dermatologists recommend using duct tape to fight viral warts. Covering the wart with duct tape prevents it from getting oxygen, which it needs to survive. Without access to oxygen, the wart will die eventually.
Another popular method is freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. This also cuts off the oxygen supply to the wart and can effectively kill the virus. However, it is important to note that these treatments can sometimes cause unaffected skin around the wart to become irritated or even damaged.
The topical application of apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil as nonprescription wart removal products may also be an effective treatment for plantar warts. However, it is a good idea to consult with a medical professional before attempting any type of at-home remedy.
Plantar Wart Symptoms
A plantar wart can be quite painful. You may first notice that you’re experiencing pain or tenderness when walking due to pressure on your foot.
Research by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons shows that plantar warts have some other common symptoms, including:
Callused skin underneath the foot.
Black dots on your foot – these are dried blood trapped in the capillaries near the wart.
An unexplained colored lesion (brown and black skin) underneath the foot.
Treatments of Plantar Warts
If you suspect you have a plantar wart and it’s not responding to treatment, consult your health care provider. They may suggest additional treatments such as electrocautery, cryotherapy, laser therapy, or surgical removal.
Infected tissue eventually dies. However, waiting until this happens before removing the wart could lead to more pain than necessary.
Some plantar warts will go away independently, while others need to be treated. You can treat a wart at home or see your doctor for treatment options. Several ways to treat plantar warts include:
Prescription-strength wart medications.
The HPV vaccine can also help prevent the development of plantar warts.
Curettage (cutting out the wart).
Direct application of medication.
Use liquid, stick, or cream salicylic acid to burn off the wart.
Laser therapy (burning off blood vessels that feed the wart.
Cryo treatment (“freeze” off the wart).
Liquid nitrogen and Salicylic acid are the most common treatments. However, both treatments require multiple applications over several weeks to eradicate the wart.
You can use salicylic acid at home. It can be purchased over the counter. Apply the medication to the affected area for 11 -12 weeks, as directed on the packaging.
According to a review in 2019, treating a plantar wart with salicylic acid is just as effective as cryotherapy. For a more effective result, your health care provider may combine cryotherapy with salicylic acid, which treats deep warts.
How to Remove a Plantar Wart
Seek the advice of a physician and never try to cut off a plantar wart on your own.
Some internet-born remedies include apple cider vinegar or essential oils. However, these remedies are scientifically unproven.
Soak the affected area in warm water for about five minutes.
This will help soften the tissue and make it easier to remove the wart.
Next, gently rub the wart with a pumice stone or emery board. Be sure to disinfect the stone or board after each use.
Next, apply an over-the-counter salicylic acid treatment to the area. You may need to do this for several weeks before the wart disappears. If home treatment doesn’t work, your doctor can prescribe a stronger medication.
When using wart remover, you should apply the product at least once a day until you notice a reduction in size and tenderness.
Afterward, reduce application to every few days for up to six months.
To speed up the process, soak feet for 20 minutes daily in hot water containing 3% hydrogen peroxide and 5% dish soap; scrub warts gently with a small soft brush, then dry feet thoroughly. Continue until the wart disappears completely.
Plantar Warts Prevention
Several ways to prevent plantar warts include:
- Wearing shoes that fit well and protect your feet from HPV exposure.
- Not walking barefoot in public places.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear socks or other foot coverings when you use shared spaces, such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and dorms.
- To prevent warts, make sure you change your socks and shoes daily.
- Wash your hands regularly and cover the wart to prevent the disease from spreading.
How Deep Is a Plantar Wart?
Plantar warts grow deep in the skin and can be very painful. You’re more likely to get them if you have cuts or scrapes on your feet, walk barefoot in public places, or have direct contact with someone with a plantar wart. Doctors diagnose them using clinical dermatology but may also use imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans.
How to Get Rid of a Plantar Wart
If you have a plantar wart, you may wonder how to get rid of it. There are a few different treatment options available. You can try over-the-counter medications, home remedies, or professional treatments.
Plantar warts are usually harmless, but they can be painful and unsightly. If you have a plantar wart, talk to your doctor about the best treatment option. Over-the-counter products such as salicylic acid can help exfoliate the skin and reduce pain.
Home remedies such as duct tape may relieve pain in some cases. However, more severe cases may require surgical removal of the wart.
How to Tell if Plantar Wart Is Dying
The good news is that there are some signs that your wart is on the road to recovery. Here are a few things to look for
- Size – Is the size of your wart smaller?
- Color – Has the color changed?
- Thickness – Is it less thick than before?
- Surface – Does it feel smoother now?
If any of these four symptoms seem true to you, then congratulations! Your wart may be dying! Keep up with your treatment plan, and drink plenty of water. You can also use an over-the-counter pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen.
Are Plantar Warts an STD?
Plantar warts are not an STD. They’re caused by HPV, which is found in public places like locker rooms and swimming pools. You can also get plantar warts from walking barefoot in public places.
What Happens If a Plantar Wart Is Untreated?
If left untreated, plantar warts may eventually go away on their own. However, they can also grow and spread to other parts of the foot or other people. In some cases, plantar warts can become painful. See your doctor for treatment if you have a plantar wart causing pain.
How Long Do Plantar Warts Last?
In children, warts may stay in effect for a few months to two years. However, In adults, it takes much longer to go away. They’re usually harmless, but they can be hurt, and people may not like how they look.
Call Dr. Ivan J. Silva and Team
Dr. Ivan J. Silva is a podiatrist with a primary mission on foot health who can treat plantar warts. Our experienced team of podiatrists in Santo Domingo treats joints, muscle disorders, bones, ingrown toenails, fungus, and more.
We’re committed to customer satisfaction with more than two decades of experience in the industry. We offer both prescription strength wart medications and topical treatments. We can assist you in choosing the best course of treatment for your individual needs.
Additionally, our podiatrist in Santo Domingo can assist with more complex issues such as preventing, diagnosing, and treating sports injuries.