If you have hard, fleshy growths on the bottom of your feet — typically on the heels or balls, where you place the most pressure when walking or standing — you may be suffering from plantar warts. These growths are caused by the human papillomavirus, which usually gets under the skin through small cuts or breaks in the soles of your feet. While this may sound alarming, plantar warts are noncancerous and are generally not a health concern; up to 10% of the population has plantar warts. In fact, they will usually disappear on their own after some time (about two years).
If, however, these warts cause you discomfort, you have numerous treatment options to consider.
Most at-home remedies for warts, such as covering them with duct tape, are not medically supported (though likely harmless). However, there are over-the-counter wart removers that peel the wart down. These work about half the time.
A foot and ankle doctor, called a podiatrist, can offer treatment if the warts persist. Common treatments your local podiatrist probably offers include freezing a wart off using liquid nitrogen, or using topical medications such as salicylic acid. Immunotherapy methods, which work by injecting antigens into the site to trigger the body’s natural healing response, have also been tried with some success.
Wart Laser Treatment
Laser surgery uses an intense beam of light to destroy the wart tissue. Plantar wart laser treatments are generally used only if milder measures have been ineffective. The surgery is more painful than other methods, and is often reserved for people who suffer from painful clusters of warts (called mosaic warts) that don’t respond to treatment. However, the treatment can be extremely effective, and it’s unlikely the wart will reappear in the same spot — which can happen with other kinds of treatments.
People with health complications such as diabetes should immediately see an ankle and foot doctor if plantar warts occur. Do you have any other questions about when to seek professional treatment and when to leave your plantar warts alone? Join the discussion in the comments.