Ever have the feeling that you have a small stone in your shoe and then find there's nothing there? Upon further examination, you discover a small, raised bump on the bottom of your foot. Could that be causing the minor pain?
That rough little lesion is probably a plantar wart. Non-cancerous and caused by a strain of HPV or human papillomavirus, plantar warts are the same grainy spots that can appear on the hands. Most often picked up through cracks in the skin, in warm, moist environments such as gymnasiums and swimming pool decks, warts are unsightly and somewhat embarrassing. Fortunately, they are highly treatable at home or by a podiatrist.
What to do if you have warts on your foot
First off, don't panic. Millions of people in the United States get warts annually, and frankly, it would be unusual for an individual not to experience a plantar or palmar (hand) wart at least once in his or her life.
Next, get comfortable. Wear shoes or sandals that take pressure off the sore spot. Also, start wearing sandals or shower shoes in the locker room or around the pool to prevent further infections.
Then, explore some at-home remedies such as:
- Salicylic acid preparations. Follow package directions and apply this medication faithfully until the wart falls off. Be patient. It may take more than two weeks.
- Put a piece of duct tape over the wart for at least six days. This should soften and shrink it. Then, remove the tape and file the wart with an emery board. Again, this is not an immediate cure.
- Check natural supplement suppliers for oral zinc or topical zinc preparations. Many users swear that warts hate zinc.
If you are concerned because the bump is not resolving, or if you are diabetic or have a suppressed immune system because of another health problem or treatment, see your podiatrist. A foot doctor will examine the lesion and possibly send a small sample to a lab for analysis. He or she can also freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or use laser therapy to eliminate the wart's blood supply.
An ounce of prevention and warts
Common sense hygiene goes a long way to keep warts at bay. Always wear clean, dry shoes and socks. In the summer months, make sure your feet are well ventilated. Around locker rooms and public showers and swim areas, wear sandals to avoid contact with HPV.
Marc Goldberg DPM
At Family Foot and Ankle Associates of Maryland, Doctors Marc Goldberg, Christopher Farnworth and Michael Frank help many individuals with their common and not-so-common foot issues. Treating plantar warts is one of them. If you are struggling with warts or have other concerns related to your feet, legs or ankles, call these friendly and skilled foot doctors today at one of their Silver Spring, Maryland locations. For the office in Olney, call 301-924-5044. For Silver Spring, call 301-439-0300. In Clinton, contact 301-868-7670, and for the Crofton location, call 410-721-2700.