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Foot Pain: Warts

Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions that can cause significant discomfort in the foot. The wart itself is caused by a virus, which is typically introduced to the skin through small cuts or abrasions. They can appear anywhere on the skin but are most commonly seen on the sole or plantar aspect of the foot.

Children and especially teenagers are the most susceptible. Some people seem to be immune to the virus.

Even though warts may be painful, most are harmless. They can be mistaken for corns or calluses because thick hard skin often builds up to protect the area which is continually irritated.

It is possible for a variety of more serious lesions to appear on the foot including malignant lesion such as carcinomas and melanomas. Although these are rare on the foot, these conditions can sometimes be misidentified as a wart. It is important to consult a physician for any suspicious growth or eruptions detected on the skin. Your physician will be able to properly identify the lesion and recommend an effective treatment protocol. In the even that a more aggressive or suspicious lesion is present, a biopsy can rule out a more serious condition.

Warts are most often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces where the virus is located, such as warm, moist environments like bathing facilities and pools.

If left untreated, warts can grow to a centimeter or more in diameter and begin to spread to the surrounding skin. These large warts are called mosaic warts. Like any other infectious disease, plantars warts are spread by touching, scratching or even from contact with skin shed from another wart.

Tips for prevention include avoiding walking barefoot except on sandy beaches. Change shoes and socks daily to keep feet clean and dry. Check children’s feet periodically and avoid direct contact with warts either from other persons or other parts of the body.

Self treatment is not advisable generally. Over-the-counter preparations and acids could destroy healthy skin and prevents detection of a more aggressive lesion for a long period of time. Please consult one of our qualified physicians to assess painful lesions. Treatment usually consists of debridement and the application of a destructive topical agent. Other treatments may be necessary from biopsy of the lesion to excising the lesion, to cauterizing the base of the lesion. Post treatment will be closely followed by your podiatric physician.

by Chris Nelson Bryant, D.P.M., Kentucky Foot Professionals

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