PLANTAR WARTS

Plantar warts are warts that develop on plantar surfaces — that is, the soles (or bottom) of the feet. It is a hard, grainy growth that appears on the heels or balls of your feet.  It is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that enters throught tiny cuts in the skin.

Anyone can develop plantar warts, but this type of wart is more likely to affect:

  • Children and teenagers
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have had plantar warts before
  • People who walk barefoot where exposure to a wart-causing virus is common, such as public showers

The symptoms of plantar warts include:

  • A small, fleshy, rough, grainy growth (lesion) on the bottom of your foot.
  • Hard, thickened skin (callus) over a well-defined “spot” on the skin, where a wart has grown inward.
  • Black pinpoints, which are commonly called wart seeds but are actually small, clotted blood vessels.
  • A lesion that interrupts the normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot.
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing.

DIAGNOSIS

Warts are usually diagnosed based only on their appearance.

In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a plantar wart with one or more of these techniques:

  • Paring the lesion with a scalpel and checking for signs of dark, pinpoint dots — tiny clotted blood vessels
  • Removing a small section of the lesion (shave biopsy) and sending it to a laboratory for analysis

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

If you decide to treat your warts, both nonprescription and prescription medicines are available.

Nonprescription medicines

Nonprescription medicines include:

  • Salicylic acid, prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. They may also stimulate your immune system’s ability to fight the wart. Salicylic acid formulas include Compound W and Occlusal.

Prescription medicines

Medicines that your doctor may use or prescribe for you include:

  • Retinoid cream (Avita, Retin-A). It disrupts the wart’s skin cell growth.
  • Cantharidin (Cantharone, Cantharone Plus). This medicine causes the skin under the wart to blister, lifting the wart off the skin. This medicine is applied to the wart at your doctor’s office.
  • Immunotherapy medicines, which help your body’s immune system fight viruses, including the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes warts. These medicines may include imiquimod, contact sensitizers, and interferon.

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