Cause of Plantar Warts
Viral infections cause plantar warts by the virus penetrating the skin, typically in areas that are damaged or stressed on a frequent basis. Locker rooms and areas surrounding pools often spread warts due to the high level of moisture and small pieces of infected skin typically found in these areas.
While warts can be found in any area of the skin, plantar warts on the under area of the foot are one of the most common. The virus associated with warts is called Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, and there are over one hundred different types. HPV types 1, 2, 4, 27 as well as 57 are most often the cause of plantar warts.
Moist areas with pieces of infected skin are high-risk zones for spreading HPV, especially if you come in direct contact with the virus. This is the reason sandals or some type of foot protection is always recommended when you are in public pool areas or locker room environments. Anyone of any age can get a plantar wart, but children and younger teenagers tend to be more at risk than adults are.
Identifying a wart is not always easy. Calluses, corns and other growths can sometimes be confused for warts and vice versa. If you notice a growth on your foot, it is always recommended you make an appointment with your podiatrist to get a proper diagnosis.
Plantar warts are most often gray in color with small pin-like dark spots, which are from bleeding inside the plantar wart. However, these can vary in color being hard and flat, just like corns and calluses.
If a wart goes untreated, it can lead to a cluster of warts or even spread to both feet. It is important to remember they spread through direct contact, which can be from your own skin or the infected skin of someone else.
Tips for Preventing Plantar Warts
- Wear foot protection when in or around public pools, locker rooms or gyms
- Check younger children regularly for signs of warts
- Always keep your feet dry and clean
- If you see a change in your skin or potential growth, contact your podiatrist
There are several treatments available for warts including applying acid with regular trimming, medication and freezing warts. If necessary, surgical procedures are available as well as laser treatment. There is no prevailing favored treatment for plantar warts and your treatment will largely be at the discretion of what your podiatrist thinks is best.
- Always get professional medical advice before treating plantar warts.
- Individuals with advanced medical conditions, including diabetes should immediately contact their physician if they suspect they have an infection.
- Warts can spread quickly to other areas of your body and to those in close contact with you. If you think you have a wart, it is best to take quick action and not let the problem get any worse.