How are your feet like a witch’s nose?
Well, hopefully not in any way whatsoever. We’re frankly kind of horrified we thought of this question in the first place.
Unfortunately, if you have warts on your feet, then that’s a big thing in common with the stereotypical witch’s schnoz! The good news is that you can do something about it, and it won’t involve any special incantations or eyes of newt.
Where Do Plantar Warts Come From?
Of conditions that affect our bodies, warts seem especially steeped in legends and folklore. This includes the aforementioned witches, yes, but tall tales of superstitious causes and treatments also abound throughout our tales.
Tom Sawyer, for example, not only believed he got warts by playing with frogs (not true); he also believed you could get rid of them by throwing dead cats in graveyards (also not true, and not condoned in any way by this office).
The truth about plantar warts is much more mundane. They are caused by an infection of HPV, the human papillomavirus. You may have heard about HPV in other contexts, but only a few strains of this virus will actually cause warts on your feet.
HPV will invade the outer layer of the skin on the sole of the foot, often through a small cut, abrasion, or other weakness in the skin.
If the immune system doesn’t kick the virus out, it sets up shop in the skin, producing symptoms including:
- Small, grainy growths on the soles of the feet, most often around the base of the toes and the heel. These will cut through the lines you normally see on the skin of your feet.
- Calluses over areas where a wart has grown inward.
- Black, tiny spots, which are tiny blood vessels that have been severed by the growth and have since clotted. Some call these “seeds,” but they don’t grow anything.
While plantar warts tend to be harmless, they can sometimes cause pain while walking, if they are located in a high-pressure area of the foot.
In most attempts at infection, HPV will be stopped by our skin or our immune system. However, sometimes our immune response is just not equipped to protect against a certain strain. Those with weaker immune systems, such as children, the elderly, and those with auto-immune conditions, will be more likely to get plantar warts.
Exposure is also a big factor in getting warts. The more opportunities you give HPV to get a hold of your feet, the more likely you’ll see the bumps show up.
Like many small, often unwelcome organisms, HPV thrives in places that provide warmth, moisture, and dim light. This makes the areas around public pools and showers prime locations for picking up the virus. Try to limit your barefoot time in these places by wearing shower shoes or, at the very least, flip-flops.
It is also possible to spread warts to other people and to other parts of your body. Although it is not often as easy as catching a cold, you should avoid touching your own warts as much as possible and be sure to wash your hands after any time you have to.
Taking Care of Plantar Warts
One upside of plantar warts (if you can call it such) is that the majority of cases are not going to cause you any real harm. They will often go away on their own. Eventually.
But HPV is a stubborn organism, and it can take a year or longer for a case of plantar warts to run its course without any sort of intervention on your part.
Now, it’s time to get back into superstitions and such for a moment. Some people swear by certain remedies—duct tape, vinegar, or what have you—to take care of plantar warts at home.
If you wish to try something you have heard about, and as long as it doesn’t involve harming your skin by cutting, burning, or caustic chemicals, you should feel free to go ahead. Just don’t be surprised if you don’t see results in a few weeks. In many cases, when a home remedy is seen as successful, it may just be the warts finally going away on their own!
If you want your plantar warts to disappear faster, your warts are causing you pain, or you have a condition such as diabetes that can make warts more complicated, give us a call right away!
Our Freeland office has professional-strength treatment options that can help your warts clear up much faster than other remedies you may have access to. Options include:
- Standard surgical removal.
- Injection therapy.
- Topical medications.
One or a combination of the above methods may be employed. The ultimate plan will depend upon the specifics of your case and your individual needs.
Do Not Be Scared of Plantar Wart Treatment
With the exception of a few special cases, there is nothing to be scared about when it comes to plantar warts. And, if you are seeking effective treatment in anticipation of clear feet for a future event, you shouldn’t fear consulting with Dr. Timothy Dailey for help, either!
Our Freeland office is happy to hear from you! Give us a call at (989) 695-6788 to schedule an appointment. If you prefer to contact us electronically, you may always fill out our online contact form instead and a member of our staff will reach out to you.