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Plantar Warts

What are they?

Warts are encapsulated or walled off growths of viral tissue. Plantar warts on the feet are frequently painful with squeezing type pressure. In the vast majority of cases, the growth of a wart is preceded by some sort of skin puncture, wound defect or breakdown in the normal skins defense barrier that in all probability, allows an entry site for contamination. A lot of patients report getting warts after showering in a public place or at the swimming pool. Keeping the foot moist is one of the ways that the skin breaks down making us susceptible to warts. Once the wart makes a home in our skin it can spread to other parts of our foot. Whether we all have inactive or potential wart viruses circulating in our bodies or gain the virus through the wound is as of yet unclear.

An interesting and often confusing distinction must be made between certain calluses and plantar warts. Skin lines or striations can be seen passing through callus tissue whereas they will pass around a wart. Painful calluses in the ball of the foot are the commonly misdiagnose as warts. In addition, plantar warts, upon close examination, will often demonstrate small black dots which when trimmed will bleed. These are tiny blood vessels, which become caught in the growth itself and are absent in regular callus tissue. A final line of distinction in identifying a wart is in its response to pressure. Squeezing a wart will usually produce extreme pain as opposed to similar pain from direct pressure on calluses.

How do you treat them?

Warts that appear on the hands and fingers are usually more responsive to therapy than are those on the feet. The professional methods of treatment available for plantar warts include just about everything from chemical applications, surgery to putting duct tape over the wart. Because there are so many treatments it tells us that sometimes the treatment works and sometimes it doesn’t. Some warts respond quickly and some do not. Each foot specialist seems to have his or her own favorite treatment methods that prove effective in the majority of cases. Usually the initial treatment is to try topical medication over a 6-10 week period. During that time it is important to keep the feet dry. There are certain medications that are giving to try to stop the feet from sweating. If topical treatments don’t seem to be working or the warts are starting to spread then there is always trying to excise the warts.

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