Plantar Warts

What are Plantar Warts?
For adults and especially children, plantar warts are very common. These benign skin growths are found on the bottom of the foot and are caused by a virus. There are numerous strains of the virus. Usually it affects the top layer of skin. These warts are not harmful but they can cause irritation or discomfort. Patients typically want to get rid of them because they are unsightly and can make them feel uncomfortable showing their feet. Plantar warts are typically small, about the size of an eraser on a pencil. They can grow larger and in clusters known as mosaic warts.

How Do You Get Plantar Warts?
Warts can pass from person to person. However, the transmission is usually indirect. For example, a person with a wart can touch a surface, such as a communal shower, and then another person can enter and touch the same surface, thus spreading the virus. The risk is small however. Those with a suppressed immune system are more vulnerable to getting warts.

How are Warts Treated?
Warts can heal on their own. However, if it does not disappear or is very bothersome there are numerous treatments available. Over-the-counter treatments have about a 50-50 chance of being effective. They will take some time to work and usually peel at the wart in an attempt to kill the virus. Podiatrist’s wart treatments include liquid nitrogen applications to freeze it, sharp debridement to remove it, and application of garlic. Treatment typically needs time to be effective, regardless of the form and because most of the wart lies underneath the skin’s surface it can be challenging to treat plantar warts. Warts can return if exposed to the virus again or if it wasn’t killed during the first treatment.

What is the difference between a Corn and a Wart?
A corn is a result of biomechanical pressures, a wart is a viral benign growth. When you squeeze a corn it is not painful when you press on it a corn is painful. When you squeeze a wart it is painful when you press on it it is not painful. The treatment is different as well. With the wart you are trying to stimulate the immune system to tackle the wart by irritating the wart to cause inflammation response -immune response - healing of wart. With a corn it is sharp debridement of corn with offloading of the plantar biomechanical pressures to reduce the chances of it coming back.