Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus and can appear anywhere on the skin. Those that appear on the sole of the foot are called plantar warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults. Some people seem to be immune to warts.
The virus that causes warts generally invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. The plantar wart is often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or littered ground where the virus is lurking. The causative virus thrives in warm, moist environments, making infection a common occurrence in communal bathing facilities.
If left untreated, they can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of several; these are often called mosaic warts. Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. The wart may also bleed, creating another route for spreading. Occasionally, warts can spontaneously disappear after a short time, and, just as frequently, they can recur in the same location.
Most are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses, which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. The wart, however, is a viral infection. It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur.
Self-treatment is generally not advisable. Over-the-counter preparations contain acids or chemicals that destroy skin cells, and it takes an expert to destroy abnormal skin cells without also destroying surrounding healthy tissue. Self-treatment with such medications especially should be avoided by people with diabetes and those with cardiovascular or circulatory disorders. Never use these medications in the presence of an active infection.
If you have an infection on your feet, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment. You’ll find a tab to request an appointment and the phone number for our clinic conveniently located at the top of this page to get you started.