Almost everyone develops a wart at some point in their lives. These growths are contagious, unsightly in nature, and may cause pain and discomfort (depending on their location). They are often benign and generally go away on their own after a while. Of course, that might be up to a couple of years, so you may want to consider treatment if your child develops plantar warts that make walking uncomfortable.
What is a Plantar Wart?
Warts are growths on the outer layer of your skin that are caused by a virus. There are different varieties and this type simply means they are found on the bottom (plantar) surface of your feet—typically in the heel or forefoot areas. These are often small (roughly the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil) and may become flattened from the pressure applied to the bottom of the foot during standing and walking.
How Do Warts Spread?
The virus that causes them—the human papillomavirus (HPV)—is rather common and easily transmitted. This combination makes warts highly contagious. The fact that they are easily transmitted stems from the fact that you do not have to make direct contact for the virus to be passed. If you come into contact with a surface (like a locker room floor) that someone with a plantar wart has touched, you may contract the virus.
Additionally, the HPV that causes warts can be transmitted by direct contact. Given the natural curiosity inherent in children, it is not unusual for a child to touch someone else’s wart and then their own feet, and then develop one there. This can be an important reason to make frequent foot exams part of pediatric foot care.
Why Treat Plantar Warts?
We mentioned before that these growths are benign, so there is generally nothing to fear when you find one. We also noted that they will disappear, even though it may take a couple of years. So why should you treat any warts you find on your children?
A key reason for undergoing treatment is that warts are highly contagious. (or several!). These growths may cause pain or discomfort, which is another important reason to take care of them early. Also, they are unsightly and may lead to embarrassment.
If you or any of your family members have diabetes and notice the development of a wart, contact our office and schedule the earliest appointment possible for treatment.
Can I Treat Plantar Warts at Home?
We do not advise attempting to treat warts at home. You can find home treatment kits in most stores, but they have a questionable track record with regard to effectiveness. Additionally, you pose the risk of damaging the healthy skin that surrounds a wart when you try to burn it off on your own with salicylic acid. A safer course of action is to simply contact our office and have our professionals do it for you.
Can Warts Be Prevented?
As with any condition, it is better to avoid the situation in the first place, if possible. You may not be able to completely eliminate the risk, but there are measures you can take to greatly decrease it, including:
Do not touch warts, whether someone else’s or your own.
Always wear show shoes or sandals when walking on pool decks or in locker rooms and other public places where people walk barefoot.
Do not share towels, shoes, or socks with other people. Even if someone else does not have a visible wart, he or she may still carry the virus.
Keep your feet dry, which is simply great advice for preventing a whole array of foot issues.
Palm Beach Podiatry is ready to help children avoid the embarrassment and discomfort that can often accompany plantar warts. We have offices conveniently located in three southeast Florida locations to better serve our local communities. Call our Boynton Beach office at (561) 734-3100; our Loxahatchee office at (561) 791-7773; or our Fort Pierce office at (772) 468-0089. You can also request an appointment today by using our online form.