The exact cause of warts (planter wart, verruca) is not clearly understood
They are caused by a viral infection and over time, develop into a hard, rough growth on the surface of the skin. A wart is most commonly seen on the bottom of the foot (known as a plantar wart or verruca), but can also appear on the top. Most warts are harmless, but can often be painful.
If left untreated, warts can grow to 2cms or more in circumference and can form into clusters of several warts, these are called mosaic warts. Warts are spread by touching, scratching or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. Warts may also bleed – another avenue for spreading.
Warts may appear spongy, with tiny red, brown, or black spots. If left untreated, warts can spread to other parts of the foot. They can persist for years and occasionally may spontaneously disappear after a short time only to reoccur in the same spot.
Warts are sometimes mistaken for corns or calluses. When warts develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot – the ball of the foot, or the heel, for example – they can be the source of sharp, burning pain. Pain occurs when weight is brought to bear directly on the wart, although pressure on the side of a wart can create equally intense pain.
Children, teens, and people with allergies or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the wart virus.
Prevention is better than cure
Avoid going barefoot in public places like showers, gyms, and locker rooms. It’s believed that the warts virus may spread easily in settings like these, it’s recommended you wear jandels in public bathing areas.
- Change your shoes and socks daily and keep your feet clean and dry.
- Avoid direct contact with warts – from other people or other parts of the body.
- Do not ignore growths on, or changes in your skin. Visit your Podiatrist as part of your annual health checkup.
After your Podiatrist treats your warts, protect your feet from future infection by keeping them clean and dry.
When to see a Podiatrist
Your Podiatrist will examine your wart carefully to determine that it is not a corn or a callus. There are many ways to treat warts, depending on their size and location. Medication, freezing or burning, or surgical removal may be effective treatments to remove warts. Even after warts are removed, they may reoccur.
If you’re thinking of using over-the-counter medications for warts, ask your Podiatrist first. Some of these treatments can damage skin – and may be dangerous if you have diabetes or poor circulation.
Podiatrists have an important role to play in preventing and managing foot problems. Prompt action is important. Problems which are left without assessment or treatment may result in major health risks.