Plantar warts are warts that grow specifically on the bottoms of the feet. Once the virus that causes warts has infected your feet, it causes the top layer of your skin to grow more rapidly that it is supposed to, making a bumpy growth. Plantar warts are more common in adolescents and children than adults and often resolve on their own after a few weeks or months. They are usually easily cared for though. Would you like to know more about the treatments available? You’ll find all the information you need in this article.
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Why Do I Have Plantar Warts on My Toes? Are They Common?
All warts, no matter where they are found on the body, are caused by a viral infection called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the most common viral infection found in human skin and anyone of any age can catch it. This makes the virus difficult to prevent because HPV can survive on surfaces for up to seven days. Trying not to catch HPV with even the most fastidious hygiene routine and avoidance is an uphill battle with those kinds of odds.
Toe warts: Identification
Warts vary in shape and size and can occur in a single growth or several clusters. They can be bumpy or flat, rough or smooth. They might develop a dark spot in the center due to the profusion of tiny blood vessels that grow to feed them. Most warts are grey, brown or flesh-colored. Usually warts don’t hurt, but a painful wart on the toe is more likely because they grow on an area of your body that experiences a lot of pressure and friction from walking.
- Wart on Bottom of the Toe. A plantar wart under your toe is more likely to need treatment to resolve it because it may affect your ability to walk. The pressure and friction from your shoe can become quite painful, especially if you walk or stand a lot during the day. These warts tend to penetrate more deeply beneath the skin because the bottom of your toe has thicker skin that is more calloused. This makes treatment a bit more involved than removal of common warts.
- Wart on Top of the Toe. Plantar warts are warts that exist solely on the bottoms of your feet. Therefore, a wart on top of your toe is most likely a common wart. These warts grow in the thinner layers of your skin, so they will grow outward instead of inward like a plantar wart, which makes them easier to treat.
- Plantar Wart Between Toes. Again, plantar warts only occur on the thick skin at the bottom of your feet. A growth on the thin skin between your toes is more likely to be common warts that will grow outward instead of deep under the skin. These growths may also simply be soft calluses from ill-fitting shoes or excessive friction. If a wart on the side of your toe is growing deeply into the thicker, more calloused area of your skin, it should be assessed to identify whether it is a plantar wart of a common wart. The most effective method of treatment depends on which type of wart it is.
Because plantar warts grow more deeply into the skin, it’s better to treat them quickly instead of waiting for them to go away on their own. The deeper they grow, the more painful they become and the more damage they do to your foot. Want to learn more about plantar wart removal? Read the information below.
How to Prevent Toe Warts
Once you have contracted the virus that causes toe warts, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t get another one, but you can take steps to make a reoccurrence less likely and prevent the spread to other areas of your body or other people.
- Keep feet dry and very clean. Don’t wear wet shoes or socks. Change your socks if they become sweaty.
- Wear sandals or shower shoes. Don’t walk around barefoot in any public area. This not only prevents you from picking up other’s viruses, but it prevents you from spreading yours to others.
- Do not touch warts your wart or anyone else’s. It is very easy to spread HPV to other areas of yourself or other people just by touching the affected area.
- Don’t share personal care items or clothing. Nail files, socks, towels, flip flops and pumice stones can all hold the virus and spread it. Even if you don’t have warts or any symptoms, it’s best not to share these items with others.
HPV, the virus that causes warts, spreads very easily. Avoid touching your wart and if you do have to touch it, wash your hands thoroughly. Covering the affected area during an outbreak will help reduce the risk of contamination.
Best Products to Treat Toe Warts
Would you like to know more about the types of home remedies for plantar warts? Click this.
Here are some of the more popular treatments:
- Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid works by slowly dissolving the wart until it can be removed at the base. It can be purchased online or at most drug stores.
- Liquid Nitrogen: Liquid nitrogen often works with just one treatment. It works by freezing warts while leaving the surrounding skin unaffected.
- Cantharone: Cantharone is harvested from blister beetles. It will usually take two or three treatments to completely cure the wart.
Many of the times, at-home treatments are less effective because users don’t follow the instructions. Read the package instructions thoroughly and follow them exactly for the best results. Also, soaking the affected area for at least five minutes before treatment can help to increase effectiveness.
When Should I Seek Professional Medical Help?
If you are not certain that what you are experiencing is a wart, have a doctor look at it to confirm the diagnosis. Do not assume that every growth is a wart. Sometimes lesions that look like warts turn out to be a more serious condition that requires treatment by a trained medical professional. Over-the-counter treatments would only exacerbate the problem in these types of cases.
If you have a disorder that compromises your immune system, it is always wise to seek medical care immediately when a new medical problem surfaces, including warts. Immune-compromised patients can experience much more severe symptoms than the general population. Because warts are caused by a virus, a compromised immune system could let the problem spread more easily to other areas of the body or make the condition harder to treat.
You may also want to seek a doctor if:
- Your wart is persistent and does not go away after over-the-counter or medical treatment,
- You experience bleeding or unexpected pain,
- You develop an infection in the affected area,
- Walking becomes very difficult or painful or,
- The wart is growing very fast or spreading to other areas,
Also, if the color of the wart changes unexpectedly, you should have it looked at. A dead plantar wart will often turn black after treatment and before the dead skin is sloughed off, which is less cause for concern, but if the color changed rapidly before treatment has commenced, it’s best to see a doctor.
It’s very important to remember that warts are common. Over the course of one’s life, almost everyone will be exposed to some type of HPV, whether through shared public areas or contact with friends and family. While good hygiene helps to prevent the spread, the virus is so ubiquitous that avoiding it completely is nearly impossible. Warts can be uncomfortable and, yes, unsightly, yet there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of developing them. The long-term prognosis for most people with plantar warts or any other type of wart is very positive.