What Causes Warts, and What Should I Do About the One on my Foot?

What Causes Warts, and What Should I Do About the One on my Foot?

You’re having pain when you walk. When you look at your foot, you discover a growth on the bottom of it. What caused that, and can you get rid of it? 

David J. Kaplan, DPM, is the expert you want to see for foot problems. If you have a painful growth on the sole of your foot, it’s likely a plantar wart. Dr. Kaplan examines your foot. If it’s a plantar wart, he explains effective treatments to remove it. 

What is a wart, and what causes it? 

A wart is excess skin growth that usually forms a raised bump on your skin. Warts can appear anywhere on your body. Warts on the bottom of the foot are plantar warts. These appear as flattened patches of bumpy skin that feel hard.   

Strains of the HPV, or human papillomavirus, cause warts. You likely stepped barefoot onto a surface that had been contaminated by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is common — the virus can be found on surfaces including public showers, gym floors and equipment, playgrounds, and doorknobs. 

If you have cracks in your heels from dry skin or a tiny cut on your toe or foot, the HPV can easily enter your system. The virus moves through your outer layer of skin and quickly multiplies. Those rapidly growing cells become a wart or cluster of warts. 

Who’s prone to warts

If others in your family have had warts, you’re more likely to get them; genetics plays a role in whether you develop warts. If you have low immunity due to a chronic condition or recent illness, you’re more prone to get a wart. 

What do plantar warts look like? 

Warts on the bottom of the foot are plantar warts. These appear as flattened patches of bumpy skin that feel hard. They tend to grow inward instead of outward because of the pressure placed on them when you walk. Instead of the round bump on your hand that might come to mind when you think of warts, a plantar wart is flatter and more spread out, resembling a common callus.

But if you think that’s a callus on your foot, reexamine that hard spot. If you see tiny black dots in the middle of that fleshy growth, you’ve got a plantar wart. Those dots are little blood vessels inside the wart.

Eliminating warts

Plantar warts often cause discomfort because you put pressure on them when you walk. In addition, you can get other plantar warts by scratching or touching the existing wart. If the wart bleeds, the virus can spread and cause other warts.  

Dr. Kaplan examines your plantar wart and may recommend prescription ointments, cryotherapy, or laser cautery to eliminate it. If you have diabetes or peripheral artery disease, don’t attempt to treat your plantar warts at home. Always see a podiatrist for any type of foot injury, no matter how small. 

Wash your hands frequently, always wear flip-flops in a gym locker room, and keep your skin moisturized and healthy to avoid warts in the future. If you have painful plantar warts, call or book an appointment online with David J. Kaplan, DPM for expert treatment that provides relief. We have offices in Half Moon Bay and San Mateo, California.

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