Plantar Warts

Invasion Of The Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts: Causes and Treatments

The 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers tells the story of alien plant spores that fall from space, grow into large seed pods, and assimilate the characteristics of humans placed near them—except these “pod people” have no emotions. Your feet can be subject to invasion, too, and it can change the characteristics of your skin, although the results are not as drastic as “pod people”—just annoying, unsightly, and sometimes painful plantar warts.

Plantar Warts: Causes and Treatments

How You Get a Plantar Wart

These small rough growths on the bottom of your feet are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) that infects the outer layer of your skin. This is the same virus that causes common warts on your hands and elsewhere. How you react to HPV depends on your immune system, and that can vary from person to person.

The invasion begins when the virus finds a small opening in the skin on your sole. This could be a cut, scrape, or even soft, wet, wrinkled skin after long exposure to water. Kids love running around barefoot, which could be one reason they are infected more often than adults. However, anyone who has a weakened immune system has likely had these growths before, and anyone who walks barefoot in wet, warm places where the virus exists is at risk.

How to Identify Plantar Warts

Sometimes they appear singly, sometimes in a cluster (mosaic), and sometimes they grow inward and are covered by a patch of hard, dry skin (callus). You will most often find them on a part of your sole that bears a lot of pressure, such as the ball of your foot or your heel.

The affected skin will have small, raised areas with tiny black dots in them. (The dots are clotted blood at the ends of the capillaries.) The growths will feel rough and bumpy, and could be painful when you walk on them. Plantar warts are not particularly contagious—you probably won’t get them from another person—but HPV does thrive in damp environments like public pools and showers, where it is easily picked up. If you’re not sure what that spot on the bottom of your foot is, it would be best to consult our office to make sure it is a plantar wart and not a more serious condition.

How to Identify Plantar Warts

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An Array of Therapies for Treating Warts

Just as it took a doctor to identify the alien body snatchers and stop them, you may need help to get rid of these painful growths that make it difficult to walk. Home remedies such as salicylic acid may be able to gradually peel away the layers, but can irritate your skin and risk other damage. Why not let the doctors at Ottawa Foot Practice diagnose your problem and identify what therapy will work best for you!

Cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen), other acids, immune therapy, minor surgery, or even vaccines are commonly employed to eliminate these growths, but we have also had good success using laser therapy to get rid of warts. The concentrated light beams cauterize the tiny blood vessels, causing the infected tissue to die and gradually slough off. The treatments are simple, virtually painless, and won’t damage surrounding skin.

Are you ready to get rid of your plantar warts and be able to walk without pain again? Call (613) 595-9700 to set up an appointment at Ottawa Foot Practice in Ontario and put an end to those pesky growths—the modern, painless way.

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