Plantar warts are a common cause of foot pain and discomfort for both children and adults. Caused by one strain of the virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV), these non-cancerous growths can appear and grow quickly, usually on the soles of the foot.
These warts can also appear on the hands, and when this occurs, they are referred to as palmar warts. It is important to note that the strain of the HPV virus that causes both plantar and palmar warts is not the same one known to cause the more serious genital warts.
Because they are caused by a virus, both plantar and palmar warts can be easily transmitted. Simple contact by touching or walking on infected surfaces can be enough for the virus to enter the skin through any existing nicks or cuts. Like other viruses, not everyone who comes into contact with this strain of the HPV virus will be infected.
Home remedies to consider
Over the years, dozens of DIY treatments and home remedies have been used to attempt to remove plantar warts. Some of these include the following:
- covering the affected area with duct tape for several days, which is followed by the debridement of the skin
- taping a moistened aspirin to the wart to take advantage of the dissolving effects of salicylic acid
- applying tea tree oil, which is believed to have anti-viral properties
Other common home treatments for warts include using an over-the-counter (OTC) wart removal product. These include formulas that are said to help dissolve the tissue of the plantar wart in much the same way that the salicylic acid found in an aspirin might. Other OTC options include products that use freezing in an attempt to eradicate the wart tissue.
When to be concerned
Plantar warts that do not cause pain or discomfort when walking or wearing shoes may need no formal or DIY treatment and may eventually disappear on their own. However, plantar warts that seem to be spreading over a large area or those that cause discomfort will likely require professional treatment to eradicate them and restore foot health.
Plantar warts that become tender when touched or that cause pain when standing or walking should always be examined by a trusted podiatrist. Left unattended, painful warts can have a serious detrimental effect on posture and mobility. Plantar warts that break open and bleed can also create a heightened risk of infection for those who suffer from impaired circulation or diabetes.
For more information on plantar wart treatments, contact a podiatrist.