About 75% of Americans have foot health problems to some degree at some point in their lives, which means it’s a good idea to be familiar with some common problems. That way, you can deal with them effectively should you experience them. Among these common problems are plantar warts, hard growths on the soles of the feet.
Here’s what you need to know about plantar warts and plantar warts removal:
The Causes of Warts
Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, but the first thing you should know is that there’s no need to panic. In most cases, warts are not considered to be a major medical problem. Warts form on the soles of the feet when the virus gets under a few layers of skin.
The virus is actually not very contagious, and is rarely spread through skin-to-skin contact. But because it thrives in moist, warm environments, you can get it from walking barefoot around locker rooms, swimming pools or similar locations. Skin softens in water, providing a better point of entry for the virus; cuts, scrapes or cracks in the skin can also make you more vulnerable to infection.
Pain and Complications
If you notice plantar warts but aren’t experiencing any pain, then it’s up to you whether you would like to try an over-the-counter treatment first or go straight to your local podiatrist (over-the-counter remedies work about half the time). It’s possible, however, that you may experience quite a bit of pain depending on the location, size and number of warts on your feet. Normally warts themselves aren’t painful, but can become so because of the pressure body weight puts on the feet.
If that’s the case, then it’s time to find a podiatrist and get started on professional treatment. You should know that warts are relatively common (about 5% of the U.S. population experiences warts or fungal infections on their feet) and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Podiatrists are doctors who deal with warts and many similar issues—82% of corn and callus problems, for example—so you’ll be in good hands.
Plantar Warts Removal
Plantar warts tend to go away on their own, but that can take years. In order to significantly speed up recovery, your podiatrist may recommend a peeling agent such as salicylic acid, often paired with freezing treatments. You may also be prescribed drugs to help your immune system fight off the infection. And if you haven’t responded to drug treatment, have many warts or are currently pregnant, then plantar wart laser treatment might be the best option. In this procedure, an intense light beam is used to burn away the wart tissue.