While lump-like patches of warts can grow anywhere on the skin, only the warts that grow on the sole of the feet are referred to as Verrucas or verrucae. The culprit behind this condition is a virus called human papillomavirus. While warts are usually harmless, the ones growing on the soles of the feet can cause serious pain and discomfort.
The Classification of Warts
Warts are generally classified by their shape and size. Warts or verrucas growing on the feet are usually flat. Some different types of warts classified by their shape and size include:
- Plane or flat warts
- Common warts
- Mosaic warts that are a colony of more than one wart
- Filiform or finger-like warts
Verrucae, which are also called Plantar Warts, can spread easily. While this condition isn’t considered contagious, its transmission with skin-to-skin contact is very common. Walking barefoot in an environment with contaminated objects and surfaces, like gyms and the surrounding areas of a swimming pool, is a common way of transmission of this virus. Wet or damaged skin increases the probability of transmission.
After transmission, the symptoms of the infection do not show up right away. It can take a couple of weeks or in some cases even months for warts to show up on the hands and feet. Warts that appear, once the virus has invaded a body, are tough, round in shape, and can be white or yellow in color. This condition can cause serious pain if warts appear on a sensitive area. At this point, it is important to know that the warts verruca caused by human papillomavirus are not the same as genital warts.
Verrucae can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to an infected person. In some cases, this condition can also cause the patient to develop a limp. Human papillomavirus commonly spreads by skin-to-skin contact. The exposure of damp and damaged skin to a contaminated surface also provides this virus an opportunity to infiltrate and infect a new host. Below are some tips for avoiding and further spreading the verruca infection.
- Avoid scratching, picking or touching the verruca
- Wear shower shoes and avoid sharing towels
- Don’t share footwear with other people
- Use verruca socks or waterproof plaster to cover the infected area while going for a swim
- Dry your feet properly after a swim or a shower
- Protect damaged skin with plasters or dressing to avoid infection
In some cases, the infection can go away on its own but it can also persist on a long-term basis if left unsupervised. Unless the warts are causing you pain, there is no need to treat them. But if the condition is causing you discomfort during your day-to-day activities then you can opt for one of the following wart treatments.
1. Salicylic acid: Salicylic Acid can be found in a number of lotions and special plasters. It comes as a paint or a gel that burns off the top layer of the wart. The results come in slowly and the application of the gel has to be continued for 3 months to completely treat the condition. This treatment can fail or the warts can come back if the patient gives up too early.
2. Cryotherapy or Freezing Treatment: Cryotherapy or Freezing the warts can be a good treatment. This treatment can be received from podiatrists, general physicians, and nurses. Liquid nitrogen is used in this procedure for freezing and destroying the wart tissue.
It usually takes up to 6 sessions for the complete removal of verruca. However, this treatment can be a bit painful and cause blisters on the skin surrounding warts. It is also more expensive as compared to the usage of Salicylic Acid.
3. Verruca Needling: This treatment requires the puncturing of the verruca layer with the help of a sterilized needle. The idea behind this treatment is to stimulate a response by the body to kill the viruses in the infected area. The needling process causes bleeding but the procedure is carried out under local anesthesia and the patients do not feel any pain. It is important not to take anti-inflammatory painkillers after the procedure as they can halt the body’s immune response for killing the viruses. This procedure is mainly used for verrucas that are really tough.
4. Swift Microwave Therapy: This directs microwave energy with the help of a probe to heat up and destroy the infected verruca tissue. Depending on the depth of the verruca tissue, one or more sessions can help cure the infection. This process does not cause inflammation or damage to blood vessels and is considered one of the most effective treatments for removing warts.
5. Cantharidin: This treatment is a formulated substance that can be oily or a colloidal film, that is applied directly on the wart by a trained podiatrist. The podiatrist will let the cantharidin dry before sealing it with a water resistance bandage for 4-6 hours. After the removal of the bandage, wash the area with soap and water. It is normal for a blister to form in the next 24-48 hours. In a few days, the blister will dry up and fall off. In severe cases, local anesthesia may be required. Otherwise, healing begins within a week.
6. Laser Treatment: Laser treatment works best for large warts that have grown internally. Local anesthesia may be applied to the area prior to treatment. The laser pinpoints the blood vessels inside the wart which prevents damage to other tissues. The laser directs rapid pulses to heat the capillaries that connects the wart. This seals the blood vessel and kills the wart’s tissues. Warts are eliminated with one to five laser sessions depending on the severity of the wart.
Take Action Now
If you’re suffering from plantar warts, our doctors can help you get rid of these pesky viruses. Please call to schedule your appointment in our Katy, Cypress, or Memorial offices with one of our highly trained and experienced podiatrists.