It’s time to get down and warty! Many of us have experienced a wart at some time or another. They can appear suddenly, and after a number of months or years can disappear suddenly on their own. In fact, warts have been plaguing mankind as far back as history cares to take us. Because of this you have probably heard some of the folklore surrounding them. It was thought that handling a toad would give you warts and to this day this theory is still perpetuated. Toads were the natural scapegoat to explain the sudden and inexplicable appearance of a wart. What are even stranger are the many myths about how to cure a warty outbreak. It was thought that if you rubbed a bean pod or a piece of meat on a wart, and then very secretly buried them, that as the bean pod/meat decayed underground, so your wart would gradually disappear. This was thought to be effective, because warts will in fact disappear on their own due to the bodies immune system. Despite all of the mystery surrounding warts, today we have good understanding of what warts are, how we get them, and how to treat them.
Warts are due to a viral infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), and up to 60 types of the virus have been implicated as the cause of the common every day wart we typically see on hands and feet, however, warts can show up just about everywhere. Warts on the feet, particularly plantar warts on the bottom of the feet are contracted from invasion of the virus through very small cuts or microscopic abrasions. This often happens when walking barefoot on an unclean surface. The virus also enjoys warm moist environments such as the insides of hot sweaty shoes, making the Phoenix climate a perfect storm. The following preventative measures has been recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA):
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Change shoes and socks daily
- Keep feet clean and dry
- Check children’s feet periodically
- Avoid direct contact with warts from other persons or from other parts of the body
- Do not ignore growths on, or changes in, your skin
- Visit your podiatric physician as part of your annual health checkup
Once we have identified these warts, treatment with the help of foot and ankle specialist is very straightforward.
Plantar warts on the bottom of the feet can be very painful, and if not addressed can expand into clusters of warts, becoming increasingly unsightly and harder to eradicate. For these reasons it is best to contact your podiatrist as soon as possible to obtain the correct diagnosis and to initiate treatment. Often treatment may include a topical salicylic acid or even in-office surgical removal. If you have noticed any warts on your lower legs, feet, or ankles, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.