Commonly known as a plantar verrucae, the plantar wart is caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The virus attacks the skin through direct contact, entering through possibly tiny cuts and abrasions in the outermost layer of the skin. Infection typically occurs from moist walking surfaces such as showers or swimming pools. After the infection, warts may not become apparent for several weeks or months. Because of pressure on the sole of the foot, the wart pushes inward, and a layer of hard skin may develop over it. Depending on where the warts located, some may cause pain when walking. A common misconception about plantar warts is that they have roots which can grow deep into the tissues and adhere to the bone. This is not true.
Because plantar warts spread by contact with moist walking surfaces, they can be prevented by not walking barefoot in public areas such as showers or communal changing rooms (wearing flip flops or sandals helps), not sharing shoes and socks, and avoiding direct contact with warts on other parts of the body or other people. Humans build resistance with age, so infection is less common among adults than children. The virus can survive several months without a host, making it highly contagious. There are many different treatments for warts including topical acid, freezing, laser and surgery to name a few. These will be discussed in future blogs.
Warts on the bottom of the foot can appear a lot like calluses, so when in doubt, it is best to have it looked at by a podiatric physician. At Aloha Foot and Ankle, we are successful at treating the source of the warts so they do not come back! So make an appointment now!