Up to 10% of all Americans have warts, and this makes them the most common of all skin infections. When a wart occurs on the underside of the foot — the plantar area — it is called a plantar wart.
Cause? — It?s Viral Foot warts, as they are sometimes called, are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The lesions only very rarely become pre-cancerous. The virus may incubate from 1 - 20 months before warts actually appear. The virus may live up to 2 years in individuals with healthy immune systems.
When/Where Were You Exposed? You likely picked up the HPV virus in a public shower, locker room, or around a swimming pool. Simply sharing someone else’s sandals or socks may have exposed you. The virus entered your foot thru tiny breaks in the skin that you were likely unaware of.
Why Treat It, If It Might Go Away? For the following reasons:
- Pain elimination: not just the foot pain from walking, but potential leg and back pain also
- Embarrassment: they sometimes spread and ‘cluster’ to cover the entire sole
- Stop the contagion: don’t let it spread to other parts of your body or infect loved ones
What Your Medications Might Suggest: For the reasons just listed, your doctor will likely recommend eliminating the warts themselves, even though the virus itself may survive the treatment. Antiviral agents are only deemed necessary in severe cases. Medical options include:
- Freezing, or Cryotherapy — one study suggests that this is less effective than the fabled ‘duct-tape’ cure
- Topical treatments : usually with salicylic or other acids, which eat away at the wart
- Surgery : including the latest (and most expensive) laser surgery.
Natural & Alternative Treatments There are many alternative treatments that are proven to be quite safe and effective. Some cures are variations of the ‘duct-tape’ cure. Most are far less expensive that traditional medical procedures. Natural treatments require persistence, patience, and may take longer than other, more expensive, remedies.
Cautions Before Self-Treating Consult with your health care provider first if you have been diagnosed with circulatory problems or diabetes. They will be able to help you choose an appropriate cure for your warts.
In Brief To eliminate pain and embarrassment — and to keep the warts from spreading — eliminate them! Then you must carefully avoid exposing yourself to the virus in the future. Keeping your immune system strong will be your best defensive strategy.