Have you found what you think to be a wart somewhere on the bottom of your foot? It’s easy to automatically assume the worst and become extremely self-conscious over something like this. But there’s no need to be embarrassed, plantar warts are extremely common and easily treatable!
What is a plantar wart?
The word “plantar” translates more or less to “bottom-surface,” therefore, plantar warts are seen as small growths/lesions usually with small black dots (capillaries) at their surface. They appear most commonly on the bottom of the feet but can sometimes grow on the tops of the feet as well.
This specific wart is caused by a particular strain of the HPV virus. Before you run your imagination wild by debating how an HPV wart found itself to the bottom of your foot, rest assured that there are over 150 different types of HPV strains. The one that found its way to the bottom of your foot was not the kind that transfers sexually and causes genital warts.
Plantar warts are extremely common because contracting the virus can be as simple as walking barefoot at the gym or pool. If a person has a plantar wart with a small knick or open cut in it, the virus can easily be transferred from that open wound to a gym floor, or the concrete around a pool. So be sure to take the extra precautionary step, and wear pool shoes or remember to wear socks next time you’re considering going barefoot in hot yoga.
At Home Treatment
As stated before, plantar warts are very easily self-diagnosable and treatable. Depending on the individual and the severity of the wart, it can most likely be treated through persistent usage of cryotherapy and salicylic acid solutions, found in over-the-counter wart removal medications such as the most commonly known, Compound W.
You may have noticed that the bottoms of your feet, especially the ball of your foot, have incredibly thick skin that is hard to penetrate through. This thick skin, unfortunately, is the reason the virus is so good at hiding from your immune system. The goals of most plantar wart treatments are to irritate the surface of the skin to activate your immune system so it can attack the virus more proficiently than if you were just to leave it alone.
There are many other DIY at home methods that have been seen to work such as the apple cider vinegar or duct tape methods. However, some plantar warts may need some professional help to be correctly treated.
When To See A Doctor
Because plantar warts are most commonly found on the bottom of the feet, some of them can be painful and irritating to walk on. This virus isn’t usually quickly treated, especially from home. So unless you’re planning on possibly feeling like walking on a small pebble for the next one to sixish months, more professional and aggressive treatment is recommended.
Another critical factor to take into consideration is that at home DIY treatments of any kind of medical condition do pose risks and can sometimes do more harm than good. Some at-home treatments don’t always properly treat the wound, so it is best to initially go the safer route and consider going to a specialist if you believe you may have a plantar wart.
Other reasons to see your doctor when possibly dealing with a plantar wart include:
- If you have any doubt that the small bump on your foot might likely not be a plantar wart, this way your doctor can take a skin biopsy and accurately diagnose it.
- If you’re immune-suppressed, for example, a cancer or transplant patient.
- If you’re on any type of prescribed steroids for a specific medical condition.
- Or if the home remedies you’ve tried haven’t been working and have potentially lead to an open wound that makes walking or standing even more painful and lead risk to infection.
Treatments To Expect At The Doctor’s Office
If you’ve gone to the doctor and have been appropriately diagnosed with a plantar wart, you can expect the following treatments:
- Prescribed topical or oral medications
- Laser therapy
- Cryotherapy (freezing)
- Acid Treatments
- Or surgical removal
As scary as some of these treatments may sound, they usually involve minimal pain, and their primary goal is to irritate the surface merely and wholly remove the wart to activate the immune system. It is important to follow all after-care instructions from your provider to avoid possible infection or any returning warts.
In conclusion, there’s no need to be embarrassed if you do believe you may have a plantar wart as mentioned before these are extremely common. Most likely the foot specialist you consider going to sees plantar warts daily and can offer easier and safer treatment than the treatments you may consider attempting at home.
As long as you take preventive steps such as always wearing shoes in public areas especially in moist environments such as locker rooms, public showers, gyms, and pools, you most likely won’t have to worry about this virus planting its way into your foot.