I remember being told as a child that playing with toads will give you warts. That old wives tale would be hard pressed to explain plantar warts, or the warts you get on the bottom of your foot, unless you’ve recently stepped on a toad. While these skin growths rarely pose any major health concerns, they can make walking unbearable. Those that have been present for a long time begin to feel like stones in your shoes, even when you’re not wearing shoes! So what exactly causes those painful growths? What is the best way to treat them and keep them from coming back?
Warts are actually an overgrowth of your skin cells caused by a virus. The Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, has many different strains that attack different parts of the body. Some strains prefer moist, membranous environments that occur in the mouth while others, ie verruca plantaris, bury themselves in the foot. Because of the thick skin at the bottom of your foot, the virus is able to avoid detection by your body’s immune system. The virus is very common and can easily get into your skin through a minor cut or scrape. You can greatly lessen the chance of contracting the virus by avoiding going barefoot.
The virus can survive in shoes and other surfaces for periods of time. Because of these ‘reservoirs’, it is important to avoid sharing socks or footwear with anyone. Sharing shoes with someone who has the warts themselves puts you at increased risk of catching it. Not to mention the bacteria, yeasts, & fungus that can cause athlete’s foot or discolor your nails.
There are many different options for treating plantar warts and Dr. Thomajan will discuss the best treatment option for you. Because some individuals are more sensitive to the virus and your body has little immunity, re-infection is common. The best way to avoid it from happening is prevention through proper foot care and foot wear. Inspecting your feet and identifying warts early is a great way to make the treatments most effective and least painful!
Until next time, keep the bottoms of your feet happy and healthy, Austin!