A Look at Painful Plantar Warts

Glenn Aufseeser
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Dr. Glenn Aufseeser strives to improve his patients' quality of life by returning to their normal activities.

Plantar warts are benign growths that develop on the bottom of your feet caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV) -- the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body. Some people are more susceptible than others to HPV, and not everyone will develop plantar warts if they come into contact with the virus. Individuals with weak immune systems or damaged skin on the feet are at a higher risk for plantar warts.

Plantar warts most often develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot -- the heel or the ball of the foot -- causing sharp, burning pain. They can appear as a single wart (solitary) or a cluster of warts (mosaic). Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain or discomfort when walking or standing
  • Thick, scaly skin that often resembles a callus
  • Hard, flat growths with well-defined boundaries
  • Tiny black specks (clotted blood vessels) that often appear on the surface of the wart

Most warts disappear with home care and do not require medical treatment. You can take steps to prevent and treat plantar warts, which include:

  • Changing your shoes and socks daily
  • Keeping your feet clean and dry
  • Avoid picking at warts as the virus may spread
  • Avoid direct contact with an individual who has plantar warts
  • Checking your child's feet periodically
  • Refrain from walking barefoot, especially in public areas like showers, swimming pools and locker rooms
  • Never ignore skin growths or changes in your skin

You should always seek care from a podiatrist when warts interfere with your daily life, aren't responding to home treatments, or if you have circulatory disorders. Contact Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida if your warts:

  • Change color or shape
  • Cause unbearable pain and discomfort
  • Interfere with activities
  • Multiply or reappear

Without treatment, plantar warts can grow, spread and prompt new warts to grow as fast as the old ones disappear. If you can't confidently identify a growth on your foot, visit Foot & Ankle Associates of Florida to ensure a correct diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment from our Altamonte Springs, Kissimmee, Mt. Dora, Orlando, and the Sandlake-area, Florida offices can decrease the risk of the wart spreading and multiplying.

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