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Plantar Warts: An Overview
- Dr. Ahmadi
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Warts located on the feet, also called plantar warts, are thickened growths in the region of the sole and toes where most pressure is applied. The condition can be acquired by people of any age and gender, but it is most common within the adult population.
Symptoms and Causes
Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which enters the body through tiny cracks of the skin. Left untreated, they may cause discomfort. These types of warts are prone to spreading, creating a mosaic-like effect leading to chronic pain. The condition is not life-threatening, but patients are encouraged to seek the help of a qualified professional to minimize the soreness.
Plantar warts have multiple forms and are very common, especially for patients who have had them before.
Most symptoms do not appear until weeks or months after the initial contact with the virus. The condition develops slowly and is often dismissed as a temporary inconvenience. The first symptom of a plantar wart consists of a gradual appearance of a small, fleshy lesion on the bottom of the foot. Usually, most affected spots include the heels and toes. Black spots may appear within the region of the growth, indicating the clotting of small blood vessels. Spreading is generally caused by trauma to the foot and may be mildly painful.
Small lesions may go away on their own, while the larger warts may have to be treated by a foot doctor. The treatment might consist of aggressive maceration followed by application of medicated plaster for several days. In some cases, acid-based topical creams might be recommended.
Laser treatment is used for patients with extensive growths, and it can be combined with other methods of treatment for the best effect. Cryosurgery and curettage may also be implemented as part of the treatment, but these methods of treatment are rarer than others. In all attempts, the ultimate goal is to remove the wart and prevent any future re-occurrences.
Many of the warts can disappear without treatment. However, the process may take up to two years, resulting in chronic discomfort while walking, running, or jogging. The condition may worsen for patients who are required to stand on their feet for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.