Plantar Warts

Maybe you were doing a regular foot check when you noticed the lump, or maybe you could feel an aching pressure in one spot when you stood up. However you noticed it, you discovered a bump on the sole of your foot, or perhaps your child’s. Though this can be concerning, these unsightly lesions are not dangerous. In fact, a plantar wart is a fairly common problem for the lower limbs.

Not Just Bumps on Toads

A plantar wart is a relatively harmless growth that develops when a strain of the human papilloma virus settles in the skin on the bottom of your foot. Usually the infection gets into your foot through a shallow cut or break in the skin. Children seem to be particularly susceptible since they often run around barefoot. It then grows a single bump on the sole of the foot. As the virus grows and spreads, you may develop more warts in small clusters called mosaics. Although these lesions are technically benign, they can be uncomfortable and very contagious.

You may not notice any uncomfortable side effects from your wart aside from an unsightly bump, but many times the spot is uncomfortable. The virus creates a fleshy, rough patch that may or may not be visibly raised. The lump might appear to have black “seeds” in it from clotted capillaries. Pressing or standing on the growth can squish it into the other soft tissues in your lower limbs, causing discomfort. Sometimes plantar warts grow inward and develop a callus over themselves, which can be quite painful to stand on.

Shrinking the Lumps

A plantar wart is a stubborn growth. Typically it does need treatment to eliminate the infection and get rid of the bump on the sole of the foot. We will examine the lesion and make sure it isn’t some other type of skin growth. Usually warts are easy to identify, but our staff may take a small skin biopsy to be sure. After they’ve accurately diagnosed the growth, we can help you begin treatments to eliminate the virus.

Most methods are conservative, working to eradicate the infected skin and destroy the virus at the source. Salicylic acid is a peeling medication that removes the layers of the wart a bit at a time while stimulating your body’s natural immune response to fight off the infection. The over-the-counter version of this remedy may not be powerful enough to shrink the lesion. Cryotherapy freezes the wart with liquid nitrogen, destroying the infected tissue so that it peels off on its own. Immune therapy uses medications—possibly injections—to stimulate your body to fight the virus in your foot. Though it’s usually a last resort, we can also carefully cut out the lesion and leave the healthy skin intact.

A plantar wart is a common, benign growth that affects the feet. Many people find it unsightly and embarrassing as well as uncomfortable, but you don’t have to just accept the bump on your own or your children’s feet. A little care can help eliminate the growth. Let the Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists of Arizona team help.