Plantar Warts 

Plantar warts also known as verrucae plantaris are painful warts that begin as little dark puncture marks on the soles of the feet.  People are often unaware that they have them until they become painful.  As Plantar warts grow they often become:  painful, brown, enlarged, rough and scaly.

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 Due to the pressure exerted on the soles of your feet from standing or walking plantar warts will grow deep into the skin.   Treatment is easier and more successful if caught and treated early on before the wart is fully developed.

 What Causes Plantar Warts to develop?

Plantar warts are usually contracted from the human papilloma-virus (HPV), type 1 or 2.  HPVs are in  the family of DNA viruses known as Papovaviridae. There are more than 100 related viruses included in the human papillomavirus group. The types of HPV that infect the soles of the feet differ from those that cause genital warts. You cannot catch genital warts from the same HPV or person with plantar warts.  There is no risk of cancer from a plantar wart. Vaccines used to prevent genital warts will not prevent plantar warts. 

HPV is contagious and can spread from person to person with direct and indirect  contact such as:  walking bare feet across  a floor which has been exposed to HPV.  It may also invade other areas of the body.  HPV invades the skin on the sole of the foot through an opening in the skin,  like a small cut or an abrasion.  HPV thrives in a warm, moist environment such as shower and locker rooms and can be picked up or spread on flat surfaces.  Using shower shoes or avoiding high traffic locker and shower rooms can lower your risk for an HPV infection.

Keep in mind that HPV is a virus.  Viral infections of any kind are difficult to treat for example: the common cold is usually caused by a FLU virus.  There are vaccines that can prevent you from catching a virus but not a cure once infected with one.  Most often medical personel will treat the symptoms of viral infections until the virus runs it course.  HPV is no different, plantar warts can be treated a number of ways but can eventually die off on its on.

Once sole of the foot is infected with HPV, the virus multiplies in large numbers. This infects the surrounding skin cells. The infected cells rapidly divide, which causes the formation of the non-cancerous skin growth we see as a wart. From the onset of the initial HPV infection to the appearance of a visual wart usually takes about  3 to 4 months.  Plantar warts differ from other warts that grow above the skins surface,  pressure from the body’s weight will cause plantar warts to appear as flat growths that grow into the skin.

Plantar Warts or calluses?

Plantar warts are often confused with corns or calluses but can distinguished by their appearance and texture.  Lesions with small black pinpoints in the growth are usually plantar warts.  These black pinpoints are clotted blood capillaries and do not usually appear in corns and calluses.  Warts are also well defined with rough, scaly surfaces.  Smooth and clear growths are calluses.  Corns are very similar to calluses and develop from where a prominent bone causes the skin of the foot to rub against the shoe.  Corns and calluses will have a skin “fingerprint” without the black pinpoint.   You can also squeeze the lesion between your fingers, warts are painful, a callous is usually not.

Plantar warts do not have seeds that attach to anything.  The black pinpoints may appear as seeds but are not.  HPV grows under the skin once it invades and the wart cannot survive outside the skin.  Children and people with low immune systems are more susceptible to an HPV invasion.   Its best to avoid sharing or swapping shoes to prevent transmission of HPV.   Resistance or immunity to HPV seems to strengthen by adulthood.

Sometimes groups of plantar warts will grow in one area, due to having multiple openings in the skin or from the HPV spreading to the surrounding tissue.  These are call mosaic warts and are often harder to treat than single growths.   

Plantar wart  treatments

If you have plantar warts don’t worry yourself too much.  Plantar warts are benign non-cancerous growths that can be treated several different ways or may disappear on their own with time.  In fact most medical personel recommend not treating  them unless they become painful.  Although, with that being said,  there is no one single treatment that will 100% cure Plantar Warts in every patient.  A HPV infection is a virus.  There are a number of treatments to eradicate the painful lesions caused by the HPV infection known as plantar wart.

  • Chemical treatments for plantar warts involves applying a topical acid to the affected area.  Salicylic acids are most commonly used.  The acid is applied topically to the wart daily for a prescribed period of time.  Chemical acid treatment effectiveness varies from patient to patient.
  • There are different types of laser treatments for plantar wart removal.  They esseintally use a laser for precise excision or vaporization of the wart without damaging the surrounding tissue.  Laser treatment seems to be more successful than other treatment.
  • Surgical treatment is simply cutting out the wart, will require local anesthesia and may cause scarring.
  • Cryogenic treatment involves using a freezing agent, usually liquid nitrogen, applied directly to the wart to freeze it.  Will cause blistering and possible scarring.
  • Hyerfaction uses an electric needle to vaporize or burn the plantar wart.
  • Needling is repeated puncturing of the wart followed by a cortisol injection.

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Plantar Wart Home Remedies

Here are 6 easy steps you can use to get rid of  plantar warts Naturally and at home:

• Use garlic – garlic is said to have antiviral properties and is a popular choice for many types of warts. Prepare wet and warm garlic (crushed and crude), and apply directly to the wart. Cover the area applied with the help of a band, and change the dressing 2-3 times daily. It is said that this method can be cured in plantar warts one week.

• Aloe Vera is another easy home remedy for skin issues and to correct planter warts.  Aloe Vera gel can be bought or  the juice can be smashed from the Aloe Vera  plant. Smear the aloe gel on a cotton applicator and put on the wart. You can add  gel every two to three hours, and replace the cotton ball every day.

• Apple cider vinegar – ACV is a simple treatment to cure plantar warts. This method works best if done before you retire for a nights sleep. Dowse a cotton applicator or ball with apple cider vinegar and bandage it in place over the wart, then leave it on overnight. Replace the cotton  and bandage every night for a week. Plantar warts can be black during the first couple of days, as a reaction to vinegar and after a week or two, warts can completely fall off.

• Use essential oils – There are a few essential oils that are recommended to cure plantar warts: oil, castor oil, tea tree oil and lemon balm. Essential oils are an effective antiseptic that is also able to  kill the HPV virus. Apply these oils on the warts and massage the affected area with your fingers.  Repeat daily until the warts disappear.

• Banana peels  have lots of potassium and are a good home remedy to cure plantar warts. Just rub the inside of a small piece of banana peel on the wart every night, and in a few weeks the wart will be gone.

• Duct tape – Another home remedy is to use duct tape to remove plantar warts. You have to cut a piece of tape enough to cover the wart and leave on for five to six days. Once removed, soak the wart in water and reduce it with a pumice stone.  Use this method until the wart is entirely removed.

Plantar warts are not life threatening, but can be painful, however, using the simple steps explained above may help reduce pain and keep the foot wart free!   

Preventing Plantar Warts

Plantar wart infections are one of the top ten reasons people visit a podiatrist, along with bunionshammertoes and athlete’s foot. If made aware of how plantar warts are spread many can avoid contracting the HPV virus that causes Plantar warts.

Preventing plantar warts can be accomplished by avoiding area’s prone to carry the strain of HPV .

  • Avoid going barefooted in public places where the virus can thrive. HPV likes a warm, moist environment.
  • Refrain from using someone else’s razors, shoes, socks or towels they could carry the virus and pass it on to you.
  • Keep your feet dry. Uses socks and shoes that breath or wick moisture away from the skin.
  • Keep your feet safe, HPV enters the skin through small abrasions or tears in the skin.
  • Keep a healthy mind & soul.