As a podiatrist, I see lots of people with plantar warts on their feet.
Often my clients have been trying lots of at-home treatments with not much success.
This leaves them feeling distressed with lots of questions - how did I get it? Is it because of my hygiene? Will it ever go away?
Let's answer some of those questions for you!
Plantar warts (Verrucae Pedis) are non-cancerous growths that can be anywhere on the feet but tend to be in higher pressure areas.
There are several types of warts that all look a little different, however, the best way to describe a wart is as a grainy, bumpy lump on the foot with irregular edges that can have a ‘cauliflower-esque’ appearance, often with little black dots in the wart.
These can be painful with a squeeze or to stand on if in high weight-bearing areas.
Warts are a skin infection caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
This virus is very easily spread from one person to the next and is an opportunistic virus meaning it tends to infect those who have a break in their skin or have lowered immunity.
You can often become infected with the virus and not know about it until the wart becomes painful or spreads.
HPV is spread by direct or indirect contact with the virus.
Direct contact with the wart or with shoes and socks someone with a wart has worn may lead to further spreading.
The virus loves to live in warm, damp areas, so places like the bathroom, communal change rooms and around swimming pools are areas where you may pick up the virus indirectly.
All warts are contagious.
Ensure you cover your wart with a waterproof bandage when swimming.
Be cautious in shared bathroom/change room facilities and either clean the surfaces with a disinfectant following use, wear thongs or cover the wart with a waterproof bandage when using.
Keeping your skin in healthy condition can help to prevent your wart from spreading to other parts of your foot.
Applying emollient to your feet daily, treating any cuts/wounds with betadine and covering with a dressing, and wearing appropriately fitting shoes will help to keep your skin strong and healthy.
I often get people asking me whether they should have their wart treated as it isn’t causing them any problems.
Without treatment, the wart can get bigger and become painful, and subsequently can become more difficult to treat.
And, of course, they can spread if you don’t treat them. So yes, you should have your wart treated!
There are many ways to treat warts including over the counter ointments, freezing the wart, and having your Grandpa buy it from you for 20cents.
The best available evidence in the medical literature reports that simple topical treatments containing salicylic acid applied every 2 weeks have excellent cure rates.
This treatment is provided by a podiatrist and is a simple procedure to carry out.
Another form of treatment we use at Complete Podiatry for plantar warts is a surgical procedure called needling.
This involves using a local anaesthetic to numb the wart area, then a sterile needle is pushed into the wart to mechanically destroy it and to improve the body’s immune response to the wart.
This treatment can be useful if you have multiple warts, as only the largest needs to be treated to improve your body’s own immune response to all of the warts present.
Recent research has identified that there are a number of strains of the HPV virus that are resistant to treatment.
Your podiatrist will keep a close eye on your progress and discuss this with you should they become concerned you have a resistant strain.
I'm so confident I can help you that I'd love to chat with you personally about your troublesome wart, it's what I'm passionate about!
Just enter your details in the field below and a rough time that you'd like me to contact you & I'll be more than happy to explain how we can help get rid of your wart!
Yours in helping to build healthy families, from the feet up,
Podiatrist, Complete Podiatry
Enter your details and a short message about your concern with the best time for us to call you back.