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When to Seek Professional Care for Plantar Wart Treatment

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Plantar warts are a common and often uncomfortable skin condition that can develop on the bottom of the feet. While many people may try to treat plantar warts at home using over-the-counter remedies, sometimes it is necessary to seek professional care. Knowing when to seek professional care for plantar wart treatment is crucial for effectively and timely managing the condition. In this blog post, we will discuss the signs and symptoms that indicate it is time to seek professional care for plantar wart treatment and the importance of seeking appropriate medical attention. Whether you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or difficulty walking due to a plantar wart or have tried home remedies without success, this blog post will provide valuable information to help you make informed decisions about your plantar wart treatment.


What are Plantar Warts?


Plantar warts are a type of skin growth that occurs on the soles of the feet, known as the plantar surface. These warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and are usually harmless but can be painful or uncomfortable.


Plantar warts often appear as small, hard, grainy growths on the bottom of the foot, with tiny black dots in the center. These black dots are small blood vessels that have grown into the wart. Plantar warts can occur singly or in clusters and may grow inward, creating a thickened layer of skin over the wart.


Plantar warts are typically spread by direct contact with the virus and found on surfaces such as shower floors, swimming pool areas, and gym locker rooms. The virus can enter the skin through tiny cuts or abrasions, and once inside, it can take several weeks or even months for the wart to appear.


Most plantar warts go away on their own without treatment, but in some cases, they may persist and cause discomfort. Treatment options for plantar warts include topical medications, cryotherapy (freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen), laser therapy, or surgery.


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Symptoms of Plantar Warts


Plantar warts can cause a variety of symptoms, which can range from mild to severe. Here are some of the most common symptoms of plantar warts:

  1. Hard, grainy growths: Plantar warts typically appear as small, hard, grainy growths on the bottom of the foot. These growths may be gray or brown and have tiny black dots in the center.

  2. Pain or discomfort: Plantar warts can cause pain or discomfort when standing or walking, depending on their location and size. This is especially true if the wart is located over a pressure point on the foot.

  3. Thickened skin: Over time, plantar warts may grow inward and create a thickened layer of skin over the wart. This can make the wart more difficult to treat.

  4. Clusters of warts: Plantar warts may appear singly or in clusters. Wart clusters may merge to form a larger, irregularly shaped growth.

  5. Viral infection symptoms: In some cases, plantar warts can cause symptoms similar to a viral infection, such as fever, fatigue, or body aches. However, these symptoms are rare and typically only occur in people with weakened immune systems.

  6. Spreading of warts: Plantar warts are highly contagious and can easily spread to other parts of the foot or other people. If left untreated, the wart may spread to nearby skin, creating additional warts.

What are the different types of plantar warts?

Plantar warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and can develop when the virus enters through the skin, often by a cut or scrape. Plantar warts can grow in a cluster, also known as mosaic warts, which can form in various shapes and sizes. They are commonly found among children and those with weaker immune systems. Plantar warts can be isolated, in small clusters, or as single larger warts, with a callus-like appearance and black dots in the center.


Periungual plantar warts appear around the edges of the toenails or fingernails. These warts can be painful and may cause the nail to become distorted or lifted. Filiform plantar warts are thin, finger-like growths that protrude from the skin. They are typically found on the toes or the ball of the foot.


Plantar warts can also be treated by altering the immune system to help fight the wart or with medications like cryotherapy (freezing), laser treatment, or podiatry surgery.

Plantar warts described above are just some types that can affect the feet and ankles. It is important to seek help from a medical professional if you notice any signs of infection or discomfort on your foot or ankle.


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When Should I Seek Professional Care for Plantar Wart Treatment?


If you have a plantar wart, it is important to monitor it carefully and seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  1. Pain or discomfort: If your plantar wart is causing pain or discomfort when standing or walking, it is important to seek professional care. A healthcare professional can recommend appropriate treatment to alleviate symptoms and prevent the wart from spreading.

  2. Growth or change in appearance: If your plantar wart is growing in size, changing in color or shape, or developing new symptoms, it is important to seek professional care. This could signify that the wart is becoming more severe or spreading to other parts of your foot.

  3. Difficulty walking: If your plantar wart is located in a spot that makes walking or performing daily activities difficult, it is important to seek professional care. A healthcare professional can recommend appropriate treatment to alleviate symptoms and improve mobility.

  4. Failed home remedies: If you have tried home remedies for your plantar wart and they have not been effective, it is important to seek professional care. To remove the wart, a healthcare professional can recommend more advanced treatment options, such as cryotherapy or laser therapy.

  5. Immune system disorders: If you have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or medication, it is important to seek professional care for your plantar wart. People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to severe and persistent warts, which may require more aggressive treatment.

Prevention Tips for Plantar Warts


If you are a patient suffering from plantar warts, you must follow the treatment guidelines laid out by your doctor.


The most important step in treating plantar warts is to avoid contact with warts. This means not touching or picking at the wart and washing hands thoroughly after any contact with it.

Washing the affected area with mild soap and water can also help to remove the infection and dead skin cells. Plantar warts thrive in warm, moist environments, so keeping your feet clean and dry can help prevent their growth. Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly after showering or swimming.


Another important step in treating plantar warts is changing socks and shoes as frequently as possible. Pumice stones or objects that come into direct contact with another person's bare feet should also be avoided to prevent further infection. Avoid sharing personal items like socks, shoes, and towels with others. This can help prevent the spread of the virus that causes plantar warts.


Regularly check the feet for signs of plantar warts or other foot problems. Early detection and treatment can help prevent the spread of plantar warts. As kids and teenagers are more prone to get them due to their recreational activities, they need treatment early so they do not develop into chronic cases that affect overall health.


Conclusion


Plantar warts are small growths that can form on the bottom of your feet. They can be red, brown, or skin color. Plantar warts usually do not cause pain and can be treated at home with over-the-counter remedies and medications. If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or difficulty walking due to a plantar wart, or have tried home remedies without success, don't hesitate to seek the help of a qualified healthcare professional. Proper diagnosis and treatment can alleviate symptoms, prevent the wart from spreading, and get back to your normal activities as quickly as possible.


Michele L. Selsor, D.P.M., is a podiatrist specializing in foot treatment. Don't hesitate to contact them for more information about their services and how they can help you with plantar wart removal.

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Michele Selsor, DPM