Plantar warts, otherwise known as verrucas, are small, easily-spread growths that most commonly appear on the heels and weight-bearing areas of the feet. They are generally harmless and will usually go away on their own, but since they can take months or even years to disappear, those with plantar warts often seek a faster treatment method.
Keep reading to learn more about this common skin condition, the signs to look out for, and how our podiatrists at Comprehensive Foot Specialists regularly diagnose and treat plantar warts.
Although there are many kinds of warts that can appear on other parts of the body, plantar warts/verrucas are those that appear exclusively on the feet. They can vary in size, and in some cases, there can be multiple plantar warts clustered together on the foot, forming what is called a “mosaic wart.” Other characteristics of a plantar wart include:
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), but only a few strains of the virus cause warts. When there are tiny cuts, breaks, or weak spots in the skin, the virus is able to enter the body, causing a wart to appear. Not everyone who comes into contact with the strains of HPV that cause warts will develop them. However, the virus thrives in warm and moist environments, making it easy to contract if you often walk barefoot around locker rooms, swimming pools, or public showers. Once someone has a wart, it can spread from the initial site of infection and cause other warts to appear. The virus causes a buildup of keratin to develop on the top layer of the skin of the foot, which causes the rough texture of the wart.
Plantar warts are most common in the weight-bearing areas of the feet, because of the pressure that is placed on these areas. Plantar warts can also occur in conjunction with calluses, because the pressure can cause them to grow inward and underneath another thickened layer of skin.
Plantar warts are most often diagnosed by a simple visual examination of the foot and lesion. Your doctor may also examine the wart more closely by removing part of it. This allows them to look for some of the hallmark elements of a verruca, such as tiny clotted blood vessels within. If laboratory analysis is required, your doctor may perform a shave biopsy to collect a small section of the wart.
Once the diagnosis of verruca is made, your doctor may offer several different treatment options. For a less invasive treatment option, your doctor may recommend topical creams found over-the-counter or prescription strength. However, these may require several applications and longer durations of time to completely eliminate the wart. At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, we often recommend laser therapy for verruca. During this type of treatment, the area of concern is numbed with a small amount of local anesthesia. Once the area is completely anesthetized, the wart is removed and the small wound is dressed with a bandaid. Oftentimes, the patient does not ever require additional treatment.
Although warts are harmless, they can cause discomfort and often take a long time to go away on their own. At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, we offer a variety of treatments for plantar warts and many other foot ailments and conditions, so you can live your most comfortable life. To learn more about our expert podiatrists and the services we offer at our office in Huntington, NY, please contact us today.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment