During the summer months, many of us enjoy walking barefoot, and when we do so around pools and on rough surfaces, we leave ourselves open to contracting plantar warts.
A plantar wart, also known as verruca plantaris, is caused by the human papillomavirus and is usually seen on the sole of the foot. It most often occurs on weight bearing areas. The virus attacks the skin through direct contact, usually entering through tiny cuts and abrasions on the outer layer of the skin. Once the virus enters the skin, it is pushed inward, and a layer of hard skin may form over the wart. If left untreated, the warts can spread, infecting nearby skin and walking surfaces. The warts can fuse together into clusters; these are called mosaic warts. Plantar warts often appear similar to calluses or corns, but can be differentiated; the skin striae in plantar warts go around the lesion and not over it. Warts also have tiny black petechiae, or tiny hemorrhages under the skin. Pinpoint bleeding may occur when the wart is scratched, and the lesion can be painful.
Because plantar warts are spread by contact with moist walking surfaces, they can be prevented by not walking barefoot in public areas such as showers, communal changing rooms, or on the boardwalk at the beach. Sharing shoes and socks can easily spread the virus from one person to another. Since the incubation period is up to three months, it is important for parents to check their children’s feet regularly, as the smaller the lesion, the more rapidly it can be cured.
We at Livingston Foot Care Specialists utilize cryosurgery to eradicate warts. Cryosurgery is a specialized form of surgery that uses extremely low temperature to destroy pathological tissues. This is a minimally invasive procedure and allows the patient to continue regular activities without interruption. Self treatment of warts can be dangerous, as over-the-counter products can burn healthy tissue as well as the wart, and the burns can be extremely painful.
If you suspect you or your child has a wart, call Livingston Foot Care Specialists at 1685 Newbridge Road in North Bellmore, 516-826-0103.