Verruca Pedis (Plantar warts)
What are they?
Warts are the most common infection of the skin caused by a virus. Plantar warts grow on the plantar, or bottom surface of the foot and they tend to be found in areas of pressure such as the heel and ball of the foot. Generally, warts go away on their own with time, but plantar warts often need intervention because they can be very painful given their location on the soles of the feet. Some common symptoms and presentations of warts are:
- Foot pain – feels like a lump under the foot
- Firm, rough, bumpy, and sometimes scaly lesions with tiny pinpoint dark spots inside
- Usually they are located over areas of pressure or bony point such as the heel and ball of the foot
Why are they happening now?
Warts occur as a result of the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus attacks the skin through direct contact, the HPV then takes refuge in the skin. You can come into contact with the virus through a number of ways, such as:
- Use of public/communal showers or pools
- Skin trauma
- Weakened immune system due to illness or medications
Can they be fixed?
Yes! Some warts go away after only a few treatments; others become a much more long term issue that requires regular treatment for a number of months. It is always difficult to predict how a wart will react. Some techniques your podiatrist will use include:
- Sharp debridement to remove the scaly, hard, outer layer ok skin and wart tissue
- The use of mild acids to gently burn away the wart
- Needling (small needles are inserted into the wart to elicit an immune response so the body will react to the HPV)
Most of these techniques involve minimal discomfort. The needling is always done under a local anaesthetic to reduce any pain. Once the wart has resolved, some good strategies to help prevent them from returning include:
- Avoid walking barefoot in communal wet areas such as pools and showers
- Change shoes and socks daily
- Keep your feet clean and dry
- Avoid direct contact with warts from other people or from other parts of the body.