Do your feet hurt when you walk? Do you have rough irregular bumps on the soles of your feet? You may have foot warts or plantar warts. Warts are a symptom of an infection caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV. Having foot warts is usually not a serious condition, but the warts do cause discomfort or pain. The warts can also be unsightly as some of them may grow to huge proportions. Experts recommend getting rid of your foot warts to improve your quality of life.
How do Foot Warts Spread?
Scientists have already discovered more than 100 types of HPV. Some of these viruses cause cancer, while others are relatively harmless. People transmit foot warts among each other by being in contact with carriers of the virus. You can get foot warts if you directly come in contact with infected people in public places, such as showers, changing areas or swimming pools. Experts also claim that warts can be transmitted by sharing personal items, such as clothes and towels.
Foot warts can spread to other parts of your body. Warts will spread easier on your own body if you have wounds and scrapes. Plantar warts usually measure about one centimeter in diameter. Children and adults commonly complain of them because large foot warts can feel like stones under your foot. There are cases where a single foot wart has many tiny ones in its periphery. People call this kind of wart a Mosaic Wart.
Diagnosis of Foot Warts
Go to your doctor immediately if you suspect that the bumps under your foot are foot warts. Doctors can usually diagnose foot warts simply by inspecting patient’s feet. Your doctor would probably inspect your feet closely using a magnifying glass.
If your doctor doubts the nature of your bumps, he may use a scalpel to pare down the bumps. This procedure is necessary because other foot features such as calluses and corns don’t bleed when cut. Foot warts however, typically bleed from their small blood vessels which look like tiny dark spots.
Some doctors also take samples of foot tissue to be sure about their diagnoses. Your doctor may use a scalpel to take samples of suspected wart tissue and send them to a laboratory. Results of the analysis should arrive after a few days, then you’ll be sure of the nature of your bumps.
Medical Treatments for Foot Warts
Foot warts can be very painful, especially if they are huge, which make them susceptible to being cut and bruised. It’s very important to remove the warts immediately to get rid of the discomfort or pain and to prevent the warts from spreading to other parts of your body. After diagnosis, your doctor may recommend the following medical treatments:
- Cryosurgery: This treatment works by freezing foot warts with liquid nitrogen, making them easier to shed off. Many patients say that cryosurgery is very effective and also not that painful. You may need to undergo several sessions of cryosurgery though, to get rid of all your foot warts.
- Cantharidin application: Cantharidin may be applied with other chemicals on the soles of your feet to get rid of foot warts. Affected areas are then covered with bandage, which results in blisters that can be uncomfortable. The resulting blisters lift the plantar warts off your foot, aiding in their removal.
- Minor surgery: Foot warts can also be removed through minor surgery, which involves cutting wart tissue or destroying it using an electric needle. Patients claim that minor surgery is not that painful and that the injection of the anesthesia is the most painful part of the procedure. Minor surgery can result in scarification, though, so weigh the pros and cons before you do it. Doctors usually don’t recommend minor surgery until you’ve tried all other treatments.
- Laser surgery: You can also get rid of your foot warts through laser surgery. This procedure involves destroying wart tissue with a laser. It’s quite expensive and may result in scars. Your doctor may recommend this procedure if your foot warts are large and tough.
Home Treatments for Foot Warts
Consider treating your warts at home if they are small and don’t bother you that much. The following home treatments are safe and are used by many people to get rid of their foot warts. It’s best to talk to your doctor during the entire home treatment process however, to avoid complications.
Take care of affected areas: Do not clip areas with warts because this spreads the virus to other parts of your body. It’s also dangerous to use the same nail clipper or file that you use on your foot warts to cut your toenails or fingernails. In addition, avoid picking at your warts as this transfers the virus to other parts of your body. Always cover your feet with bandage or wear thick socks that thoroughly cover your feet. Lastly, keep your feet dry because foot warts spread more quickly in moist environments.
Use wart patches: Another way to get rid of foot warts is to use wart patches that contain salicylic acid. The acid peels off wart tissue, making the bumps smaller or completely removing them. Medical professionals recommend choosing wart patches with 17 percent acid content to effectively remove your warts. Apply them every day for a few weeks or until all the bumps have disappeared.
It’s best to soak your feet first in warm water for about 15 to 20 minutes before using wart patches. Shed off wart tissue using a pumice stone or a nail file between each session. Salicylic acid though can damage the healthy skin that surrounds the plantar warts, so be careful when applying the patches. In addition, consult your doctor before doing any acid treatment if you are pregnant. Your doctor may suggest using wart patches along with other treatments, such as cantharidin.
Try duct tape: People have been using duct tape to get rid of foot warts for a long time. Experts though have different opinions on the effectiveness of duct tape in getting rid of foot warts. One research showed though that duct tape can be more effective than liquid nitrogen.
If you want to try the duct tape method yourself, cover your foot with duct tape for about six days. After six days, peel off the duct tape and soak your foot in warm water. Rub off the foot warts using a pumice stone or an emery board. Repeat the treatment for two months or until all bumps are gone.
Consult your doctor immediately if you see any wart-like features on the soles of your feet. Removing foot warts early will prevent their growth, spread and transmission to other people.
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