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Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are common skin growths that occur on the soles of the feet, specifically on the plantar surface. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be uncomfortable or painful when walking or standing. Proper diagnosis and treatment of plantar warts are important for relieving symptoms, preventing their spread, and promoting healthy foot and ankle function.

Causes of Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are caused by HPV, which enters the body through small cuts or breaks in the skin. The virus thrives in warm and moist environments such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and communal showers. Factors that increase the risk of developing plantar warts include:

  • Walking barefoot in public areas
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Having a history of warts or other skin infections

Symptoms of Plantar Warts

Plantar warts can vary in appearance and may present the following symptoms:

  • Small, grainy or fleshy growths on the soles of the feet
  • Hard, thickened skin over the wart
  • Black dots or small blood vessels (referred to as wart seeds) that appear as tiny spots within the wart
  • Pain or tenderness when standing or walking, especially if the wart is located on a weight-bearing area

Diagnosis and Treatment of Plantar Warts

Diagnosis of plantar warts typically involves a physical examination of the affected area. In some cases, healthcare professionals may need to scrape off a small sample of the wart for laboratory testing to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment options for plantar warts include:

  1. Salicylic Acid: Over-the-counter salicylic acid solutions or pads can be applied to the wart to gradually remove the dead skin layers and promote healing.

  2. Cryotherapy: This treatment involves freezing the wart using liquid nitrogen, which destroys the cells and triggers the immune system to eliminate the virus.

  3. Laser Therapy: Laser treatment can be used to target and destroy the wart while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

  4. Surgical Removal: In cases where other treatments have failed or the wart is particularly large or painful, surgical removal may be necessary. This procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia.

Preventing Plantar Warts

Preventing plantar warts can be achieved by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, especially around swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers.
  • Wear shower shoes or sandals in communal areas to minimize direct contact with the virus.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry, and change your socks regularly.
  • Avoid picking at warts or biting your nails, as this can spread the virus.

If you suspect that you have plantar warts or are experiencing symptoms, it is important to seek the care and treatment from team AFFC. We can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options to effectively manage plantar warts and promote healthy foot and ankle function. Early intervention can help prevent the spread of warts and alleviate discomfort.

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