Often caused by the human papillomavirus, known as HPV, plantar warts are benign skin growths located on the bottom of your feet that can cause foot pain. HPV enters your body through tiny cuts or cracks on the skin on your feet. Plantar warts are typically found beneath the pressure points on the foot, such as the heels or balls of a foot. The pressure usually causes the plantar wart to grow inward.
Plantar warts cause foot pain, especially when standing or walking, and appear as small, grainy lesions on the soles of the feet. Typically, there’s a hard callus over a well-defined round spot, where the wart grows. You can often see small black specks inside the wart, which are small clotted blood vessels.
In some cases, plantar warts go away on their own without treatment, but it typically takes a couple of years. If they are causing you pain or are spreading, then your plantar warts should be treated. At Foot, Ankle & Leg Vein Center in Boca Raton, our doctors diagnose and treat all forms of plantar warts using the following methods:
- Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen using a spray canister. The liquid nitrogen causes a blister to form, and the dead tissue eventually falls off.
- Cantharidin: Cantharidin is a substance from the blister beetle. It’s used in combination with salicylic acid. This kills the wart allowing your doctor to clip away the dead tissue.
- Immunotherapy: For tough warts, your physician may inject you with a medication called interferon which boosts your immune system to reject the wart.
- A prescription cream called Imiquimod (Aldara) is applied directly to the wart which causes your body to release immune system proteins designs to destroy the HPV virus.
- Sometimes minor surgery is recommended to cut away the wart.
- Laser treatment – A pulse dye laser treatment may be used to cauterize tiny blood vessels leading to the wart. This causes the tissue to die and the wart to fall off.
To reduce your risk of developing plantar warts, do not go barefoot in public areas, especially locker rooms and shower areas.