Nobody wants warts. They’re embarrassing and gross, right? But when these meddlesome little bumps pop up on the bottom of your foot, as they do with plantar warts, they go from being an ugly nuisance to a painful condition that can interfere with activities.
Plantar warts are a special type of wart that is most common among kids and teens. They start out as small lesions on the bottom of the foot that look a bit like a callus. But as the wart grows inward, you’ll start to notice black pinpoints on the surface, which are actually tiny drops of clotted blood.
Without treatment, these little warts will grow and keep growing, sometimes up to one inch in diameter. They can also spread and multiply into a cluster of warts by scratching, touching and bleeding. So hands off! The bigger they get, the more uncomfortable or even painful they can become, particularly when standing or walking.
Plantar warts are caused by an invasion of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which creeps into the outer layer of skin on the soles of your feet through a cut, crack or scrape, or through waterlogged skin that has spent too much time in the pool. There are more than 100 types of HPV, but this isn’t the kind that causes problems elsewhere on the body. There are only a few types that cause warts on your feet.
We generally develop an immunity to this strain of HPV somewhere between the late teen years and early adulthood. Kids and teens are most susceptible, but that’s not to say that adults can’t get plantar warts, too.
The virus loves warm and moist environments like public or indoor pools, locker rooms, shower floors and bathtubs. In fact, it’s been known to live on surfaces for up to six months, just waiting for another foot to come along.
If you or your child has warts on the bottom of your feet, call our office for an appointment. We recommend that you don’t try to treat them with over-the-counter kits, which can be expensive, ineffective, and can damage useful skin cells.
When you come for your appointment, we’ll carefully evaluate your feet to make sure that you do have plantar warts. If we determine that they are in fact warts, we can usually remove them with a bit of scraping and topical medication. The scraping is done in the office and doesn’t hurt. Sometimes it takes a few visits to get rid of plantar warts entirely, but it’s well worth the time to have clean and healthy feet.
If you have had plantar warts before or spend a lot of time in warm, wet places, here are a few tips:
- Wear flip flops around the pool deck and in locker rooms and showers.
- If you or someone in your family has had plantar warts, clean all of their shoes with Lysol and disinfect showers, bathtubs and pool decks.
- Check your kids’ feet frequently for signs of a lesion.
Don’t wait to start treatment, because plantar warts will usually just get worse. Call our office today to make an appointment.