Plantar Warts

Warts on the bottom of the feet are quite common and can be very painful or, in some cases, not cause any pain at all. Warts become painful because walking pushes the wart up into the skin and walking on it can feel like walking on a pebble or small stone. They are particularly common in children but plenty of adults have this problem as well. Often adults who have plantar warts also had them as children, but not always. (“Plantar” means the bottom of the foot).

Warts are caused by a human papilloma virus. The specific type of wart that infects the feet spreads through direct contact usually when the skin is wet or moist and when there is some type of crack or split in the skin. Therefore it is important to dry your feet well after showering or swimming and especially after sports when the feet become sweaty. Wool blend or synthetic socks do a better job of moisture management than cotton.

Warts invade the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin and create a hard covering of callus like material. Very small blood vessels are also part of the wart and may look like small black dots. Warts appear different than a callus because the wart interrupts the regular skin lines.

Many different treatments exist for warts ranging from covering the wart once daily with duct tape until it clears to surgically excising the wart. Suffern Podiatry uses conservative treatments with very good results. First we remove the thick wart tissue which is a painless procedure. Than special medication is applied and patients are given instructions for home care. If this treatment does not clear the warts, the doctor may prescribe one of several different topical preparations. If those treatments are not successful than we can perform an injection of a special preparation into the wart to clear it up. Since the injection is painful this treatment is reserved for the most difficult cases. (This treatment is not used on children).

Overall success rates are very high. Our office does not believe in surgically cutting the warts out. That procedure is quite painful and leaves a wound which must heal over several weeks. Conservative treatment when applied consistently remains effective in most cases.