What are warts?
A wart is a lesion caused by a virus that invades your skin. Warts on the bottom of your feet are called plantar warts.
People develop plantar warts when they are exposed to a wart virus. This exposure could be from another member of your household. You can also encounter this virus anyplace you are barefoot: a pool, the gym, a locker room or even a hotel. Usually the virus enters your skin through a tiny abrasion in your skin or perhaps where there is a callus. The wart virus uses your skin and blood to grow and often multiply.
A plantar wart typically has a slightly raised, rounded appearance. There is usually a callus like covering. The wart often has black spots on the surface. People often mistake these spots for seeds, but in reality they are the tips of tiny blood vessels.
Warts can easily spread. Often we see multiple warts near each other on the same foot. If left untreated, some people will develop dozens of warts on their feet. Although warts can occur at any age, children, adolescents and young adults are more susceptible. As we grow older, our immune systems usually learn to identify the virus and kill it before a wart develops.
Warts are as deep as the skin that they are growing in. Because the skin covering the ball of the foot and the heel is very thick, warts in these locations are much deeper. Therefore, wart infections on the bottom of the feet are more difficult to treat than warts elsewhere on the body. Many wart treatments are available. We can help determine the best option for you or your child.
Applying Mild Acid
A mild acid can be applied daily. This will gradually eat away at the wart tissue. This is combined with trimming away the dead tissue periodically. This is a gentle form of treatment that causes minimal if any discomfort. Unfortunately, because the plantar warts are so deep, this method often fails.
A stronger acid can be applied in the office by Drs Helms or Bowers. This can cause increased discomfort, but has a greater success rate compared to use of a milder acid.
Applying a very cold substance to the wart can cause a blister to form under the lesion. This blister can cause the wart to slough off. Sometimes multiple treatments are required. Again, because warts on the bottom of the feet are often very thick, this treatment may not be successful.
This is a substance derived from a South American beetle. When applied to a wart it causes a blister to form. This blister penetrates much deeper than those from freezing. There is a higher rate of success with this treatment. There may be some discomfort from the blister for a few days.
There are some topical prescription medications that are sometimes successful at killing the wart virus. These are applied based on the directions your doctor gives you. These treatments require periodic trimming of the lesions by your podiatrist.
Surgical removal of the lesion can be very effective. This treatment does require the use of a local anesthetic. Also, there will temporarily be a hole where the wart was removed. This can be painful for a few days.
We Can Help
As you can see, multiple options exist for the treatment of warts. No single treatment is best in all circumstances. Our doctors will help determine the best treatment for you based on your lifestyle and the location, size and number of warts that you have.
If you think you or a family member has a wart infection, call us at (317) 573-4250. Doctors Helms, Bowers, or Higgins can make the correct diagnosis and help you find quick relief.