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Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC

Plantar Warts: Unsightly Sole Growths

It’s a common myth that you can get warts from touching toads. Despite their bumpy skin, you’re fairly safe picking up amphibians. You can, however, get plantar warts on your feet from the environment around you.

Contagious, Bumpy Skin Growths

Plantar warts are benign skin growths that develop on the soles of your feet, frequently under a weight-bearing area. They can be solitary or grow in clusters called mosaics. They are the result of a skin infection—a strain of the human papilloma virus (HPV) gets into the upper layers of skin and creates a fleshy lesion. The skin in the affected area thickens and develops a rough, grainy, gray or brown appearance. Occasionally a hard callus forms over a wart that has grown inward. The bump may have black spots in it from tiny blood vessels, too.

When a plantar wart is under a weight-bearing area, like the ball of your foot, it can be quite uncomfortable. Pressure from standing and walking squish the lesion and press it into the other soft tissues in your lower limb. You may feel a sharp, burning discomfort whenever you put pressure on the affected foot. The growth is contagious, too, so you can pick up the virus from the environment around you and pass it to the surfaces and people you come into contact with.

Eliminating the Lesions

Warts are technically harmless lesions—they do not transform into cancer or cause permanent deformities. Your body can usually eliminate the growths on its own within a couple of years, too. Most people do not want to wait that long, however. The bumps are unsightly and uncomfortable. Treating them takes persistent therapy. Plantar warts are challenging to manage.

Dr. Sanjay Patel and our staff at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. will carefully examine the lesion to diagnose it. Although most warts are relatively easy to recognize, other skin conditions can look similar. The appropriate tests, including skin biopsies if needed, rule out other possible issues. Then you can begin treatments.

Conservative remedies are mostly topical medications. Salicylic acid breaks down and peels away the lesion a few layers at a time. Another medication made from beetle extract creates a blister over the growth. As the blister heals, so does the bump. Some medicines may stimulate your body’s natural immune response, so it fights back against the virus. Cryotherapy actually uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the plantar warts, destroying the infected tissue. The bump then peels off after a couple weeks.

When Conservative Care Isn’t Enough

If conservative therapy is not helping shrink the growth and deal with the discomfort, you may need more invasive remedies. The spot can be excised, or cut away with a scalpel, in a minor procedure. Dr. Sanjay Patel will carefully numb your foot before removing the bump. Sometimes a laser procedure to vaporize the infected tissue can help, too.

Plantar warts are an uncomfortable problem that are easy to catch and hard to eliminate. You don’t have to struggle with the unsightly and painful bumps on your soles, though. A little care can eradicate the problem and smooth out your skin. Let our team at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Connecticut help. Just call our offices or use our website to make an appointment: (203) 876-7736 for the Milford office, or (203) 288-4055 for the Hamden location.

Dr. Sanjay V. Patel
Dr. Patel has over 20 years of experience in the field of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.