Plantar Warts – A pain in the foot

Why can’t I get rid of these warts on my feet?

You may have tried everything you can think of to eliminate these painful lesions that keep popping up and the person next to you has never been afflicted with them before.  Plantar warts are actually an infection of the superficial layers of the skin with a virus, HPV (human papilloma virus).  The virus affects the deeper layer of skin where the cells first begin, aka the ‘seed’ or ‘core’ of the wart.  Most common to children, there is some evidence that the body has difficulty fighting them off due to lack of immunity.  As a side note, if you have children you may be aware a vaccine against HPV, a variant that causes warts in another area of the body.  While they are the same family of virus, they are completely different types, similar to the differences between the herpes virus that causes cold sores and the STD version.


There are a variety of over the counter treatments that line the pharmacy shelves as well as a litany of home remedies.  No matter what treatment you choose, you should see some improvement within the first week.  If it does not improve or seems to be getting worse, it is time to visit your Austin foot expert.   The podiatrists at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists have an even better arsenal of treatments to offer you.  A single treatment may be enough to eliminate it in most cases, but several treatments may be warranted. 


For ‘warts’ that defy treatments or appear suspicious to our eyes, the first step will be biopsy.  Biopsy is a simple in office procedure using anesthetic and ‘punch’ out of the skin so small a small bandage is all that is necessary.  A small sample of the lesion is punched out and sent to a dermatopathologist, or doctor of skin disease.  Using the most advanced techniques available they can verify if it is a wart or some other skin problem.  Once we know exactly what we are dealing with, our treatment protocols can quickly eliminate the painful lesion!


Until next time, keep those feet happy and healthy Austin!

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
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Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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