Understanding Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are warts that grow on the bottom of a person’s foot, often causing painful growths on the balls or heel of their foot. Just like any other variety of warts, plantar warts are growths that are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be contracted by coming into contact with it, often in public showers or swimming pools.

Many people are susceptible to HPV, especially when they are repeatedly exposed to the virus. One can also contract HPV if their skin is cut or damaged, or if their immune system is weakened.

Symptoms of Plantar Warts

A planter wart can have a variety of appearances. From small, fleshy bumps, to hard, flat growths, to gray or brown lumps with tiny black dots, plantar warts can cause pain, especially when standing or walking.

Treating Plantar Warts

Plantar warts can heal and disappear on their own, however, if your plantar wart is causing discomfort, there are a variety of options to effectively treat them.

  • Use over-the-counter treatments that contain a 40% salicylic acid solution, applying it once or twice a day for several weeks.
  • Use duct tape. Covering the warts with duct tape for six days, then soaking them in water and rubbing them with an emery board or pumice stone will help to get rid of the plantar wart. This process may have to be repeated for a month or two before the warts will completely disappear.
  • Have your podiatrist freeze the warts off with liquid nitrogen, or remove them surgically by scraping or cauterizing.

Preventing Plantar Warts

It is critical that you be sure you keep your feet covered and wear flip-flops or sandals when using any public locker room, shower, or swimming pool. Other helpful hints to protect your feet from plantar warts is to use foot powders, wear clean socks, as well as keep your feet dry, which will all prevent the growth of warts or other foot issues, like athlete’s foot, from happening to you and your feet.

To learn more about how we can help keep your feet healthy, contact the Foot and Ankle Specialists of Illinois today.