Warts are caused by the Human Papillomavirus or HPV. They love moist, warm places, which makes them a lot easier to contract over the summer months. Pool decks, the beach and the boardwalk are common spots where adults and children are exposed to the virus. Locker rooms, gymnastic and dance studios and karate dojos are also perfect breading grounds for warts.
The wart virus enters the foot through tiny breaks in the skin. Over time the skin can become thick and discolored with small black dots. Pain may also be present with walking.
Exposure to the virus does not mean that you will denfinitely develop warts. Each individual has a unique immune system and susceptibility. This is why some members of a family develop warts and others will not. Kids are more susceptible to getting warts than adults, because their immune systems are still developing.
Types of warts on the feet:
- Common warts are flesh colored, rough and grainy and are usually located on the tops of the toes.
- Plantar warts are found on the sole of the foot. Because of the pressure from walking and standing these types of warts grow into the skin. You can have one or several warts that are clustered together.
To prevent warts:
- Avoid walking barefoot. Always keep your feet protected by wearing a sandal or shoe.
- Wash your hands. Warts are contagious and passed by direct contact.
There are several treatment options available including topical medications, cryosurgery, surgical removal and laser. Over-the-counter wart removers are not very effective when is comes to treating warts on the feet. In our office we have a high success rate with a combination of topical acids. It is important to keep in mind that HPV may stay in your skin even after the warts have resolved which may lead to a recurrence in the future.
Check your feet regularly. If you notice any areas on the toes that are flesh colored and raised or the bottom of the feet where the skin is thick and discolored please call the office. The sooner you seek treatment, the more effective the treatment will be.