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Part of living in this crazy world of ours is enduring all the microscopic organisms that unwittingly cause us harm or bother. Sometimes visits from viruses come in the form of colds or flus. Other times they show up as annoying growths on the feet. Plantar warts are often nothing to worry about, but most people would rather see them disappear sooner than later!
Almost everyone will develop a case of warts at some point in his or her life. The hands and feet are very common sites for warts to be contracted, given how often they are in contact with the rest of the world. Plantar warts are the name given to those that develop on the feet. If they’re on the hands, they’re called palmer warts.
Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. There are many different strains of this virus that exist, but only certain ones will cause warts on the hands and feet. Those that cause warts in certain other locations of the body are of different strains entirely. HPV can be fought off by the body’s immune system, but can sometimes successfully enter through small cuts, cracks, or scrapes in the skin. Warts are often picked up in warm, moist areas such as pools or locker rooms, where the virus can thrive. Transmission from person to person is more difficult, but not impossible.
If you have had plantar warts before, you are more likely than others to contract them again. Children, teenagers, and those with weakened immune systems are also more susceptible to picking up the disease.
A common plantar wart will look like a small, rough, growth on the bottom of the foot, often interrupting the lines and ridges in the skin. There may be a thickening of skin over the spot of a wart (like a callus) or little black specks. Some think these specks are “seeds,” but they are actually the result of tiny blood vessels clotting around the wart. A wart does not have to be painful, but can be if it’s in a spot that commonly endures a lot of pressure while walking or standing.
If your wart is especially painful or starts changing in shape or color, call our Bloomington office as soon as you are able.
The good news is that plantar warts, when left alone, will eventually disappear on your own. The bad news is that it can take upward of 2 years to see these results!
Swinging a dead cat around your head in a graveyard at midnight (or whatever it is Tom Sawyer wanted to do) is likely not going to speed the process up any further. There are some home remedies that people may swear by, such as duct tape or apple cider vinegar, and most of them will not cause any harm to try. Their likelihood of working, however, is dubious.
Over-the-counter wart treatments tend to have higher success rates than home remedies, but are not always successful. Many treatments contain salicylic acid, which removes layers of the wart a bit at a time. This sometimes comes at the expense of damaging skin around the wart, however.
There are additional professional treatments that can help take care of warts more quickly, including cryotherapy, other types of medicines or acids, and minor surgery. We can discuss with you the full array of options and which may work best for your current lifestyle and situation.
If you are looking for professional help with warts, or have tried other treatments that just haven’t worked, call the office of Dr. Kevin Powers at (812) 333-4422. We’ll help you on the way to smooth, pain-free feet again.