The Plantar Wart: The HPV Virus You Might Not Know About
If you needed any more reasons why you should always wear shoes in public areas, especially in locker rooms, on swimming pool decks or in communal showers, here is another one to add to the list: plantar warts.
When most people think of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) the first thing you think about might be a sexually transmitted disease or cervical cancer. But there is a strain of HPV that can cause painful and unsightly warts that typically appear on soles of your feet or on the bottom of your toes.
These warts are contagious viral infections that are harder than the typical viral infection for your body to fight. Because the virus infects skin cells, instead of invading your internal systems, your immune system has a harder time ridding your body of this invading virus.
Typically, the plantar wart may take several months to a couple of years to fully heal because infection only occurs on the skin cells outside of the body. But if left untreated, it can spread and create more painful warts on the bottom of your foot.
Most sufferers of plantar warts report that they can be very painful, especially while walking, standing or exercising, mostly because of the pressure applied to the wart due to its location.
How to Treat a Plantar Wart
There are several ways to treat a plantar wart, but there are some things you should never do. For example, do not try to remove the wart yourself by cutting it off. Not only could you hurt yourself, you could spread the virus to other parts of the foot, as well as cause damage to your skin. Applying extreme heat or cold to the wart is also frowned upon because it can also cause severe skin damage.
Duct tape has long been an “old wives tale” for treating plantar warts, but there is some truth behind it. If you place a piece of duct tape just slightly bigger than the wart itself over the affected area, it sometimes causes the body’s immune system to amp up and kill the virus, due to your body’s natural reaction to the adhesive. Keep in mind, however, that this doesn’t always work.
For a more proactive and effective treatment plan, seek the help of a podiatrist, who can prescribe topical ointments for you. These medications are the most effective treatment and can work the fastest.
Don’t forget that plantar warts are a viral infection, which means the virus is also likely in your shoes. Always sanitize them before wearing them following your treatment. Otherwise, you are prone to re-infecting yourself. In addition, you should be considerate of spreading plantar warts to others, so be sure to wear shoes in public areas. This is especially critical in public showers or at community pools.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to examine your plantar wart, please visit the Greensboro, Burlington and Asheboro podiatrists at Triad Foot Center at one of their three locations across the Triad serving, Kernersville, Summerfield, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Burlington, Oak Ridge, High Point, Asheboro, Danville, Redisville, Elon and surrounding areas. Click here to request an appointment or call (336) 375-6990 to book your appointment today.