Warts are the result of a growth on the skin caused by a virus infection caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are over 100 HPV strains, however only a handful can cause warts on your feet. Others tend to cause warts in other areas of your skin and body, for example. the face, hands or the genitals. Warts that appear on your foot is known as verruca wart, also known as the plantar wart.
While they’re not directly related to pressure and are present anywhere on the feet, you’ll usually notice them on your heels, or in other areas that support weight.
Plantar warts aren’t usually a major concern for your health, but because they are contagious and if they’re creating pain and discomfort, it is recommended to seek guidance and a treatment plan with one of our specialists located in Brisbane.
Risk factors & causes
HPV is an infected virus that slows growing and can be passed on through indirect or direct contact. It means that you can get HPV directly by contacting someone else who has HPV (e.g. contact between skin and skin) or share floors, shoes, or socks with someone who has the virus. However, not everyone who contacts it will get warts because the immune system of each person reacts differently to different strains of the virus.
It thrives best in warm, humid conditions, and is often caught in public spaces like baths and showers, getting into the body via a cut or break within the skin.
This virus infects the skin at the soles of your foot, which causes the top layers of your skin to develop quickly and develop an inflamed, fleshy lesions.
Everyone can develop an infected plantar wart. There are however a range of things that could increase your chances of developing a footwart that include:
- Children & teenagers. They are more common among teens and children because of their increased exposure to public areas e.g. schools, and they are still gaining immunity against virus.
- A weak immune system
- Walking barefoot in common places particularly in areas where the virus is prevalent e.g. showers and locker rooms.
- The result is cuts, injuries and skin conditions on the feetthat can become a point to the virus
- Direct contact with someone who has warts
Signs and symptoms
Plantar warts come in any size and shape. Since it’s a virus disease small blood vessels form within the centre of a wart. These tiny vessels provide it with nutrients and blood, and usually appear as tiny dark spots on the center of the wart. It is not uncommon to experience discomfort from an infected plantar wart, specifically when it’s located on the weight-bearing part of your foot. The pressure your body weight puts on the wart causes it to be painful.
A few common signs and symptoms you might notice if you suffer from a plantar wart are:
- A tiny grainy, rough lesions that grows in the heel of your foot (usually in the area of toes or on the area of the ball, or in the area of heel).
- The lesion’s fleshy border has solid border.
- Dark dark spots of black in the lesion.
- It may have a hard, overlying skin with a yellowish-looking appearance.
- Itchy when pressing the outer borders of the lesions.
- It can be painful walking when it’s on a weight-bearing foot.
- A lesions that disrupts normal skin patterns and lines on your feet.
- There could be multiple lesions at the same location. This is known as mosaic warts. mosaic wart.
If you have any or all of these symptoms it is possible to identify yourself by an easy test. This test can be performed with the Squeeze Test. This can aid in determining if you are suffering from a wart, or the corn.
It is the Squeeze Test
Simply squeeze the affected area from both sides and if it causes pain, it’s likely to be a wart than one.
To make sure you receive an accurate diagnosis, we suggest visiting one of our podiatrists since the treatment of warts differs from what is the method for treating a corn. A podiatrist will usually be able to tell whether your growth on your skin is warts by simply taking a look, but should it not be obvious, a specimen may be taken for analysis and verified.
Most warts will disappear on their own. However, plantar warts typically require treatment and removal as they can be painful depending on their position at the base of the feet. Certain warts disappear after a few treatments. However, those that have a long-standing wart may require some time to be completely removed.
Podiatrists can assist in a variety of ways, such as:
- Utilize Swift Therapy, medical microwave technology that’s extremely effective in treating warts.
- Debridement that is sharp to eliminate the tough outer layers of wart tissue
- Utilization of mild acids to remove the wart tissue
- Utilization of cryotherapy to freeze warts
- Minor surgery performed under local anaesthetic to ensure complete removal of the plantar wart.
SWIFT makes use of medical microwave technology that’s highly efficient in removing verrucae and warts.
The machine permits us to transmit an individualized microwave signal to the skin, making sure that only the wart gets treated. It quickly heats the wart up to 42-45oC. This rapid increase in temperature may cause discomfort, but since SWIFT treatments are extremely swift, discomfort is only just a few minutes. After the right dosage has been administered it is possible to leave without dressings or discomfort. In the majority of cases, warts do not require a an immediate debridement, prior to making use of SWIFT.
This treatment has 75-83% success rate. 75-83 percentage of success and is much higher that any treatment available.
Learn more about SWIFT Therapy.
In the clinic, chemical treatments
There are two major cosmetic chemicals that are utilized in clinics to treat warts in Perth.
1. Silver Nitrate
- The most gentle chemical application
- The podiatrist will debride the wart tissue in order to expose the blood supply, and then apply silver nitrate to the wart tissue.
- Chemical application and debridement create tissue trauma to stimulate our body’s immunity system to the action.
- Silver nitrate may cause dark grey staining on the skin that will eventually disappear.
2. Salicylic Acid
- The chemical is typically made into a paste-like substance which is sprayed on the affected area after debridement.
- Similar to silver nitrate, the substance reacts with skin, causing the tissue to trigger the body’s immune system.
Depending on the size of the wart as well as the length of time it was in the past, you might require various treatments. It is recommended that these chemical treatments are applied every two weeks until the wart is gone. In certain situations, we might suggest using an over-the-counter remedy as an addition to these chemical treatments during your treatment.
Cryotherapy is the method in which the freezing agent (usually liquid nitrogen) is directly applied to the wart. It’s an extremely quick procedure however the freezing sensation may cause pain and blisters could develop, which will disappear in the weeks after the treatment.
It can be painful to walk after the procedure however typically, you need less treatment using this method in comparison to chemical treatments.
The treatment is typically repeated for 2-4 weeks until it is completely resolved.
Plantar Warts were Removed Surgically
Curettage is a procedure in which the area surrounding the wart is treated with an local anesthetic. The Foot Surgeon in Perth removes the wart’s tissue to reveal healthy skin. Phenol chemical then is applied to burn the wart and silver nitrate to stop the bleeding.
For the first few days following surgery, it is important to avoid walking on your foot for as long as you can, because it may be a little tender when you are weight-bearing. In a matter of 1-2 weeks, most people are walking as usual and the pain will be significantly lessened or resolved.
The treatment’s success rate is treatment is estimated to be between 65 and 85 %.
Home treatment options for patients
There are a variety of brands of products available over the counter, e.g. Wart-Off or Wartner. These remedies available over the counter typically contain an incredibly low amount of salicylic acid or a kit for freezing at home. If we had to suggest an at-home remedy we suggest you try the wart-off stick. Apply it for 4 weeks, following the directions on the pack and if it doesn’t solve the problem, call our podiatrists and make an appointment.
- Duct tape is used to dissipate the wart
- Apple cider vinegar
You may also know others who have been successful with these treatments. It is essential to keep in mind that in order to effectively combat a wart, we must trigger an immune system reaction to fight the infection. These home remedies offer very little evidence of effectiveness and may cause skin irritation or infections.
What could happen If I do not take care of a wart on my plantar?
In about 65% instances, warts disappear in their own time with no medical treatment. If you do not treat the presence of a serious plantar wart or mosaic wart these things could occur:
- Chronic pain and discomfort leading to more severe treatment later on.
- Modifications in posture or gait, if a painful wart has altered the way you walk, stand or run, and is causing joint or muscle discomfort.
- The virus may be spread to other areas of the body, causing warts to grow.
- You may pass the virus to others like family and friends.
Here are some suggestions to avoid warts forming at all:
- Beware of walking naked in public areas
- Make sure your shoes and socks are tidy
- Make sure your feet are clean and dry
- Avoid contact with anyone who has an existing wart