Do you have questions about Plantar Warts? We have answers.
Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of plantar warts? Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about plantar warts. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to Dr. Schneider about your plantar warts, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.
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Is a plantar wart the same as a callus?
A plantar wart and callus are two different things. A callus is a thickening of the skin in an area of high pressure. The outer layer of the skin is "dead" but puts adds to pressure beneath the foot, often causing pain. Treatment for a callus includes padding and the safe removal of the dead skin, often by a foot doctor in Houston.
A planters wart is a manifestation of a virus on the foot, known as a verruca. A wart can occur anywhere, but a "plantar" wart is specific to the bottom of the foot. While a wart and callus appear similar, they are treated in different ways. A wart becomes intertwined with the healthy skin and is fed by blood vessels. The goal of treatment for a wart is to eliminate the wart tissue but preserve the healthy skin without injury or scarring.
What is a plantar wart?
A plantar wart is a growth, usually on the bottom of the foot, caused by a virus. Just as there is no medication to eliminate other viruses, such as a cold, there is no treatment for the wart itself, only treatments that address the symptom, the planters wart itself. Warts can occur throughout the body, but the term "plantar" specifically describes a wart on the foot. The wart is also known as verruca plantaris.
The virus responsible for the wart forming is the human papilloma virus (HPV). It typically is introduced into the body through a crack in the skin. Sometimes a single wart forms, but often it can spread, forming patches of two, three, and more warts together. In our Houston foot care practice we've seen patients with over one hundred warts on a foot. It is best not to ignore a wart and you should see your Houston foot specialist to treat it before it spreads.
Why is it called a plantar wart?
A plantar wart, also called a planters wart or verruca plantaris, is a wart on the bottom of the foot. The word "plantar" describes the bottom of the foot. A wart, or verruca, can be anywhere on the body but a plantar wart can only be found on the foot.
A plantar wart can best be treated by a Houston podiatrist. Because the skin on the bottom of the foot is thicker than the rest of the body. Because of this, many treatments that is effective to eliminate warts elsewhere is not useful beneath the foot.
Do any OTC medicines help plantar warts?
There are many over-the-counter remedies to treat plantar warts. Each remedy has an active ingredient that should aid in eliminating warts. Unfortunately, because they are over-the-counter, they are not often strong enough to take care of most warts. For small warts, early in their formation, an OTC treatment could work. For larger or multiple warts, the over-the-counter solution is not usually the answer.
If you decide to try an OTC wart remover, be sure to use a pummus stone or callus file to remove the dead skin on the wart. This should be done each time the medicine is reapplied. I don't recommend the commercially available treatment that freezes the wart. It is significantly less potent than what your podiatrist or dermatologist might use in their office and simply does not penetrate deeply enough for the wart to be destroyed. I do recommend visiting our podiatry office in Houston, TX to ensure the wart is being treated in the most complete and effective way.
Is there any oral medication for plantar warts?
Because a plantar wart is a manifestation of a virus, there is no medication to eliminate it. Viruses typically are left to run their course. Just like a cold, you don't treat the virus itself, but you do treat the symptoms.
There are some who believe that oral cimetidine, commonly known as the heartburn medication Tagamet, will help to eliminate warts. It is reported that there is some slow success in children, but most don't use it as a primary treatment Instead, it is used if there is a widespread infection of warts while other treatments are being used as well.