Plantar warts, or in medical terminology, “plantar verrucae”, are very common causes of painful skin lesions on the bottom of the feet. Plantar warts are actually caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that live in the very thick skin on the bottom of the feet. Verrucae can also occur on the sides or tops of the toes or feet.
Plantar warts are most commonly seen in children, adolescents, and young adults, but can affect any age group. Barefoot walking, flip-flops, sandals, and excessive sweating of the feet can increase the incidence of warts. Verrucae are almost always benign, but do have the potential for localized cancerous transformation, especially in long-standing or in adult lesions. Although warts do require an entry point in the skin, warts should be treated promptly as they are contagious and transferable to other people, and more importantly, can quickly spread to multiple areas and grow into larger and deeper lesions on the feet.
Plantar warts can be extremely painful, as warts on the bottom of the feet can grow very deep. What most people see as a wart is only the “tip of the iceberg!” Warts on the bottom of the feet can grow to the size of marbles and can cause severe pain with walking and activity.
Although there are “old-wives-tales” of using duct tape or castor oil on warts, most warts require real, modern treatment. Initial treatment should be geared towards good hygiene and topical over-the-counter treatments, (acid pads or freezing agents). Use these products with caution, as self treatment can cause infections, wounds, and/or freeze burns. When self treatment and topical treatment fails, which is often the case for the deep lesions on the bottoms of the feet, one should seek treatment by a specialist. Prescription treatments are available which are more effective than over the counter treatments. Because plantar warts are very resistant to topical treatments and recurrence of warts are exceedingly common, warts are most effectively treated by in-office laser treatments, doctor applied agents, or minor in-office removal. Laser and removal treatments are performed comfortably and quickly in the office with low recurrence rates and are usually curative.
Don’t suffer from warts, have them evaluated and treated today!
Houston Foot and Ankle
Jason C. Miller, DPM, FACFAS
Daren Guertin, DPM, FACFAS
Jacob Hord, DPM, FACFAS
Elizabeth Fernandez-Arias, DPM
Laura Woodcox, DPM
Laura Richards, DPM
Offices in Kingwood, Spring, Atascocita, Houston, and Mont Belvieu