A foot wart is a small growth on the foot that is caused by a viral infection of the skin. They often appear on the weight-bearing areas of the feet, such as the heel or the ball of the foot (forefoot).
Foot warts are often plantar warts, which are always on the bottom of the feet and are always caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). A wart on the foot can usually be treated effectively by a podiatrist; these warts don’t usually respond to over-the-counter remedies.
Let’s talk about the causes and treatments for foot warts, and where you can go in the Cincinnati area for top-notch medical treatment that gets rid of your wart for good.
What Causes Foot Warts?
The virus that causes most types of foot warts is highly contagious, and it can be spread by direct contact with a wart. However, it is most commonly transmitted by contact with infected surfaces, such as shower floors, locker room floors, or shared towels.
The virus thrives in warm, moist environments. The virus can enter the body through tiny breaks in the skin or other weak spots on the soles of the feet.
Anyone can develop foot warts, but they are much more prevalent in children, young adults, and people with weakened immune systems. You are also more likely to acquire this viral infection if you walk around barefoot in warm and moist areas or if you share shoes with someone else.
How Do I Know if I Have a Foot Wart?
Plantar warts can appear as thick patches of scaly skin, and they may be mistaken for a corn or callus. You can usually tell the difference by squeezing it – a wart will usually cause pain when squeezed.
Other symptoms can include:
- A growth that is often located at the base of the toes, on the ball of the foot (forefoot), or on the heel.
- A lesion that may appear spongy, rough, brown, gray, yellow, or have tiny black dots (clotted blood vessels).
Plantar warts grow inward, into the skin, instead of outward. This can cause pain or tenderness when walking or standing, and the wart may bleed if scraped or bumped.
Treatment for Foot Warts
Most warts are harmless and go away eventually without special treatment, but this may take a very long time. Plus, because they are caused by a virus, they tend to reappear later.
Foot warts can be successfully treated by a podiatrist. You should visit a podiatrist to address the wart or growth if:
- You are experiencing discomfort associated with the wart, or if it is bothering you
- The wart is bleeding
- You have diabetes, a weakened immune system, or poor sensation in your feet (such as with neuropathy)
- You are unsure if the growth is a wart or something else
A podiatrist can eliminate a foot wart in a number of ways, which include:
Burning the wart with topical acid. This treatment works by removing each layer of the wart, one layer at a time. The treatment is applied directly to the wart, and this triggers the immune system to clear the virus from the body. Before applying the treatment, the feet may be soaked in warm water and any thickened skin is removed. Repeat treatments may be necessary.
Freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. Treatment is applied directly to the wart either with a spray or a cotton swab. It can cause discomfort, so the area may be numbed first. The liquid nitrogen causes a blister to develop around the wart as it freezes and destroys the wart. The dead tissue then gradually sheds away. Repeat treatments may be required until the wart disappears.
Performing laser surgery to cauterize (burn and close) the tiny blood vessels within the wart; causes the infected tissue to die, and the wart eventually falls off. Treatment may need to be repeated.
Foot Wart Treatment in Cincinnati, Ohio
If you have a foot wart, the experienced podiatrists at Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care can evaluate your feet and recommend the best options for you. We remove foot warts using the latest, most effective, and most painless technique possible.