Plantar Warts — How A Chiropodist Can Help
Plantar warts usually occur on the sole of the foot and are contagious.
Plantar warts can affect people of any age as the virus can exist wherever you go barefoot. Areas that are wet or damp (shower stalls, pools, gyms, hot tubs, spas, dojos, dance studios, etc.) can often harbor the virus, which can easily be communicated within families.
The plantar warts are unsightly and can be painful, affecting work, inhibiting lifestyle and recreational activities for prolonged periods.
Traditional treatment methods would commonly take months and be painful. Plantar warts would be treated with freezing by liquid nitrogen in most doctors’ offices. Since the wart is embedded in the sole of the foot and insulated, this treatment is generally ineffective and painful.
Plantar warts are benign (noncancerous) growths that occur on the sole (plantar surface), heel, or ball of the foot. Pressure from standing and walking often causes them to grow into deep layers of the skin.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) causes several different types of warts, which are the most common type of skin infection. In some cases, the HPV virus dies within 1 or 2 years, and warts simply disappear.
Chiropodists may recommend having plantar warts removed because they often are irritating and painful. Anyone can contract the virus that causes plantar warts. Plantar warts occur most often in children and young adults between the ages of 12 and 16. Incidence is higher in people who share common bathing areas. For example dormitory students or gym members.
Plantar warts can occur when HPV invades the body through tiny cuts or breaks in the skin on the bottom of the feet. The virus often is encountered on contaminated surfaces, such as the tile floors of public locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools.
Normally, antibodies in the blood destroy HPV, but in some cases, it takes refuge in the skin and causes plantar warts. Some people are more prone to the virus that causes plantar warts than other people. Risk factors include repeated exposure. For example, walking barefoot in public locker rooms and common bathing areas and having a weakened immune system.
Plantar warts usually are rough and spongy, and most are gray, brown, or yellow with dark pinpoints. The dark pinpoints are tiny capillaries that supply blood to the wart. Scraping a wart may cause it to bleed.
Patients often feel a “lump” on the bottom of the foot when standing, similar to having a stone in the shoe. In many cases, pressure from standing and walking prevents plantar warts from rising above the skin surface. If left untreated, plantar warts can grow up to 1 inch in circumference and may spread into clusters (called mosaic warts). In severe cases, they cause a change in gait or posture that results in leg or back pain.
A plantar wart is similar in structure to an iceberg — the part on the surface of the skin is a small part of the entire anomaly. Often, the portion of the wart under the skin is at least twice as big as the part you can see. Plantar warts may cause pain on the bottom of the foot.
Treatment for Plantar Warts
We have several practical and effective treatment options in clinic for plantar warts. Treatment regimens range from applications of safe, powerful medications applied to the warts in clinic to shrink the wart and kill the blood vessels (black dots within the warts), to at home regimens with prescritiption medications.
In the case of stubborn warts where conservative treatment has failed, surgical techniques are available. The most popular is autoimmune inoculation/ needling treatment. This unique therapy involves depositing a small amount of the virus into the deeper layers of the dermis, which activates the immune system.
Once the immune system is activated it usually requires four to eight weeks for the virus to be eradicated. Typically one treatment is required. Once the immune system is activated, it will target the virus anywhere on the body. For example: if there are warts on the other foot or hands, they too will disappear.
I am a registered chiropodist and foot care specialist and have been helping patients for over 20 years.
Are you uncertain about whether you should choose a chiropodist vs. podiatrist? Chiropodists and podiatrists provide the same care. There are 600 registered chiropodists in Ontario and only 60 podiatrists. The College of Chiropodists of Ontario stopped using the name podiatrist in Ontario in 1993, over 26 years ago — but the name is still used in other provinces in Canada, also USA and UK.
Chiropodists today must complete 7 years of post-secondary education. We do complete case management of foot problems, assessing and treating the entire foot and its complications.
Chiropodist Trina Scarrow, BSc, DCh treating a patient with foot pain — for proper foot functioning and overall well-being.
I provide full biomechanical exams and gait analysis — I will be able to help address your foot discomfort by foot care treatment, custom orthotics and orthopaedic shoes, surgery, medication, laser or physical therapy.
Chiropodists and podiatrists are the only regulated health professions who have the ability to prescribe and provide custom orthotics as defined in the Regulated Health Profession Act of Ontario.
I want to help get your feet functioning better so you can feel better.