Dr.Ken W.N

Dr.Ken's
WETHERSFIELD PODIATRY
& FOOT HEALTH SERVICES
discusses
Plantar Warts &
Common Warts
Treatment Options
!


WHAT DOES "PLANTAR MEAN?:

The bottom of the foot is called the sole or the plantAr (NOT plantEr) surface of the foot.  ANY wart found there can be called a plantar wart (verruca plantaris).  If there is a cluster of warts, this is called a mosaic wart.  Warts that bulge outward from the skin (and are not on the sole) are called "common" warts [verrucae vulgaris]. 

REALLY, WHAT IS A WART?

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Warts are caused by a papilloma virus that infects the skin cells; you can NOT get them inside you.  Warts ARE transferable from one person to another and you can spread warts to other parts of your body.  [You do NOT get warts from animals, e.g. frogs.]  The virus is picked up most often in a communal environment (i.e., a locker room, pool-side, gymnasium, health club or spa, or your own bathroom, tub or shower stall) where your feet come in contact with the wart-infected skin cells shed from another wart victim.  Whether or not you get warts has nothing to do with your personal cleanliness.  The wart virus may lie dormant for several months before showing up as a wart. 

HOW ARE WARTS DIAGNOSED?

A wart has a special appearance which usually clearly distinguishes it from a plantar corn, even though some non-podiatric physicians still make this mistake.  The skin lines (dermatoglyphs) are interrupted by the wart's disk, which itself can contain small dark dots (the tops of capillary loops).  When a wart is pared (debrided), these loops are sometimes cut and there are pin-points of light and brief bleeding.

Warts are benign, non-cancerous skin growths.   They can go away without treatment IF the victim develops antibodies to them or their environment is changed, for example by decreasing the skin moisture level and IF the foot is not reinfected (from contaminated shoes or environment).  Unfortunately, if you are waiting for them to go away, they may go on to cause you pain or disability (due to their pressure on deeper, sensitive tissues).  At the same time, you are probably exposing other people to the risk of warts.  Furthermore, you run the risk of inadvertently spreading or developing more warts on your feet or elsewhere on your body.  Thus, we advise people to start treatment for their warts.

TREATMENT OPTIONS:

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There are several ways to treat warts, from the simple to the complex, from the harmless to the potentially harmful, from the painless to uncomfortable, from the quick to the protracted  and from the conservative to the surgical.  Some methods are better for children and others better for adults. NO method or technique can assure you that the warts (once treated and removed) will not come back; they might and sometimes they DO.  That's just the way it is and will be until the scientists invent a wart vaccine. Some people have warts which disappear easily and others have warts which are very resistant to cure.

WARTS SHOULD BE TREATED - not endured.

Choosing the method involves a discussion between the patient and the podiatrist.  Pro's and con's must be assessed.  If the victim is not really disabled by the warts, a more conservative method can be used and is usually recommended first.  Even an initially painful wart can be converted to a painless one professionally, allowing the patient the option of conservative care.  If the victim is in pain, is disabled by the warts or insists on rapid resolution attempts, then one of the more aggressive methods might be used.  (Laser surgery is sometimes used but is NOT usually the best technique and is not without risks.)   

Only a careful examination of your feet and a discussion with us will help you find the best treatment plan for your warts.

We look forward to serving you, your family and friends for this and other foot and ankle concerns.

Dr.Ken Sokolowski