Summer brings barefoot play and activities that could expose your family’s feet to plantar warts. “Wart” is the household name used to refer to over 150 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. “Plantar” refers to the sole of the foot. Plantar warts can be common for those who frequently walk barefoot, have cuts or scrapes on the foot, or have a weakened immune system. You can also pick up viruses at places where you don’t wear shoes, such as public pools, yoga studios, martial arts gyms, or gymnastics facilities. The virus enters the foot through cracks in the skin.
Let’s explore how to identify plantar warts and what kinds of treatment methods are available below. Worried about recurring plantar warts and plantar wart pain? Talk to a podiatrist at Arizona Foot Doctors in Scottsdale about your concerns.
Are they calluses or plantar warts?
Your first step in the morning might be painful. Is the thick, white skin you see simply a callus, or could it be a plantar wart on your foot? Tiny black dots in the center indicate a plantar wart. Why do plantar warts have black dots? The black dot is a blood capillary that “feeds” the wart. A solitary wart is a single wart. However, plantar warts can also form in a cluster called a mosaic wart. If you see tiny black dots in the thick skin on the bottom of your foot and experience pain when applying pressure, such as when standing or walking, this could be a plantar wart rather than a callus. Speak with a podiatrist for further evaluation
How serious are plantar warts?
While you might have plantar wart pain on the bottom of your foot, there is no need to rush to the emergency room. Warts can resolve themselves without treatment, but you can also address them with over-the-counter remedies and physician-prescribed interventions. Make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible to explore treatment options.
How are plantar warts treated?
Plantar warts often resolve themselves in a matter of weeks or months as the body’s immune system attacks the virus. The best prevention of plantar warts is wearing shoes in public spaces, regularly cleaning bath mats, and frequently changing socks or hosiery. However, if you’re experiencing many warts or plantar wart pain that interferes with everyday activities, common interventions for plantar warts on your feet are available:
- Salicylic acid products. Salicylic acid products dissolve the wart over the course of daily treatment for 1–3 months. These products can be found over the counter at most local pharmacies for a price range of $10–$30, depending on the brand.
- Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy refers to freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen until it falls off the skin. For small plantar warts on your feet, home-kit cryotherapy is available over the counter for a price range of$10–$30. To treat larger warts or to ensure more accurate targeting of the wart, a podiatrist can give you cryotherapy treatment.
- Curettage. Curettage refers to cutting or removing the wart through laser or electrocautery. Only a physician can do this.
- Home remedies. Various essential oil and plant-based remedies have been used for years in folk medicine. If you choose home remedies, be mindful of allergies and dilution instructions.
Touching the wart can cause the virus to spread to other parts of the foot, hand, or body. The wart can also spread to other people through contact. Be mindful of washing and drying your hands thoroughly after applying a treatment or changing bandages.
How not to treat plantar warts
Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut the wart off at home. Doing so can cause damage and scarring to the surrounding skin while creating additional cuts where the virus can spread.
Can you cure plantar warts with electrocautery?
Arizona Foot Doctors offers electrocautery therapy for plantar wart removal. This method uses a small electric needle to remove the wart after the area has been numbed with a local anesthetic. The doctor will remove the wart, treat the area, and bandage it. Usually only requiring a day of recovery, electrocautery is an effective treatment of plantar warts. Electrocautery can be completed in one appointment and significantly decreases the chance of plantar warts recurring on your feet. While the topical treatments discussed above are handy, they often require daily
application over several months, and there is a higher rate of the plantar warts returning.
Schedule an appointment
Ready to say goodbye to the plantar warts on your feet? Whether you want to get rid of plantar wart pain or prevent the spread of warts to other areas on your body, schedule an appointment online with Arizona Foot Doctors to determine the best course of treatment. With our vast experience in podiatry, Arizona Foot Doctors is a practice you can trust.