What Causes Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are caused by a viral infection known as human papillomavirus (HPV), and the virus enters the body through tiny abrasions on your feet.
Most people with plantar warts likely contracted the virus while walking around barefoot in a warm, moist environment such as a locker room or public swimming pool, as this is the type of environment where the virus thrives.
How to Prevent Plantar Warts?
It’s worthwhile to consider ways to lessen your chances of contracting HPV and developing plantar warts. Consider taking the following precautions:
- Wear proper footwear: If you spend time near pool decks, gyms, locker rooms, or any other warm, moist environment, wear sandals or other appropriate footwear to protect your feet.
- Avoid touching yours or someone else’s warts: Plantar warts spread through direct contact. If you must touch your warts or someone else’s, wash your hands immediately and wear protective gloves.
- Resist picking or scratching: Picking or scratching at your warts can cause them to bleed and/or spread.
- Moisturize your feet: Purchase moisturizing creams or lotions that can prevent your skin from becoming dry, flaky, and cracked.
- Address open wounds: If you experience a cut, tear, or another abrasion on one or both feet, properly address the wound as soon as possible.
- Wash and dry your feet: Use gentle soaps and warm water to clean your feet every day, and then allow your feet to dry, especially before putting on socks.
- Keep personal items personal: Unwashed towels, socks, nail tools (such as nail files and clippers), and other personal items should not be shared with others.
Treatment for Plantar Warts
Plantar warts can go away on their own, but it can take months or even years. Most people decide to contact their healthcare professional and have the warts removed.
There are numerous, effective removal methods available, including:
Cryotherapy is a treatment method that involves freezing warts. Your healthcare provider will likely numb the area prior to applying the liquid nitrogen in order to lessen your pain. The liquid nitrogen will then be applied directly to the warts. Once this procedure is completed, you can expect a blister to form around the wart and the dead tissue to gradually fall off.
Depending on the severity of your outbreak and your immune system’s response, you may need to return to the office for repeat treatments. It’s worth noting that cryotherapy may stimulate your immune system’s response and encourage it to eradicate the underlying problem, which is the HPV virus.
Prescription-strength salicylic acid can be applied to your wart daily. When the salicylic acid is absorbed into the skin, it steadily causes the skin to peel. Layer by layer, the wart will disappear.
In most cases, you will be able to apply the medicine yourself and check in with your doctor regularly to discuss any improvements you’re seeing. This topical treatment method is painless.
If you decide to go the surgical route, your healthcare provider will numb the area and then use an electric needle to cut away and remove your plantar warts. Since scarring is possible, surgery is typically a last resort and recommended only for people who have not had any success with other removal methods.