Touch any toads lately? Came out on the wrong end of a run-in with a witch? Okay, probably not, but if you discover a wart on your hand or your foot, you may be wondering where it came from and what to do about it.
Warts are surprisingly common—perhaps 3 in 4 people (or more) will develop at least one at some point, often (but not always) during childhood. While they may be relatively benign in a medical sense, they can also be embarrassing, and even painful if they wind up in a load-bearing spot like the bottom of your foot. These are known as plantar warts, and can be quite a nuisance.
A Closer Look at Plantar Warts
Plantar warts can be identified as small, grainy, fleshy, thickened growths of skin that appear on the bottom of your foot. You may notice a black pinpoint at the center—these are small blood vessels that have clotted. They may appear alone or in clusters, and while the wart itself should not be painful, it can cause pain or tenderness in surrounding tissues from pressing into them while you stand.
Where Warts Come From
Warts a caused by an infection of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, in the top few layers of skin. In order for it to do that, it needs two things—exposure and a point of entry.
The strains of virus that cause warts thrive in environments that are warm and moist. Damp shoes, locker room or shower floors, and the like are prime breeding grounds. Once you come into contact with an infected surface, the virus looks for an entry point, whether that’s a small cut or scrape, cracks in skin due to dry feet, or soft skin due to prolonged water exposure.
Not everyone reacts the same way to a given strain of HPV—a lot depends on your individual immune system. Kids, as well as those with an immunodeficiency condition, are generally more susceptible.
Zap It? Freeze It? Treatment for Plantar Warts
First things first—if the wart isn’t bothering you or isn’t causing pain, you don’t necessarily need treatment. Most are not medically serious and generally disappear eventually on their own, though it may take a couple of years.
However, if the plantar wart is causing physical pain or is simply an embarrassment or nuisance, you should seek help from our office.
Dr. Corey Fox is pleased to offer his patients CryoPen therapy for plantar wart removal. This system uses a state-of-the-art linear compression cooling technique that allows for safer, more effective freezing of tissues. Unlike traditional cryotherapy (in which a small amount of liquid nitrogen is applied to kill the top layers of skin on a wart), CryoPen does not require the handling of potentially dangerous cryogenic liquids or gasses, and allows for more reliable, more precise and targeted, faster, and more convenient treatment.
In rare cases, we may ultimately consider a minor surgical procedure to excise a stubborn wart entirely. However the vast majority of cases can be adequately resolved otherwise.
Do Home Remedies Work?
A number of popular remedies, including the “duct tape” method and some over-the-counter peeling or freezing products, are out there. The bad news is that studies regarding their effectiveness are mixed, particularly the duct tape method (which may work no better than a placebo), and you may find they don’t provide enough oomph to get the job done. On the other hand, provided you are otherwise healthy, these methods should not be harmful to you, and you may consider attempting them for a few weeks first to see if they offer any benefit. You can always visit us for help later.
Helping Remove Unwanted Plantar Warts on Long Island
If plantar warts are bothering you or a loved one—whether they’re actively causing discomfort or they’re simply irritating—do not hesitate to enlist the help of Dr. Corey Fox of Massapequa Podiatry Associates. Our office provides simple, quick, and effective treatment to help you eliminate these pesky skin growths as quickly as possible. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call 516-541-9000.