All About Warts on the Feet
posted: Feb. 22, 2021.
All About Warts on the Feet
A wart is a small skin growth that often has a grainy appearance. Warts grow most often on the fingers or the feet. Warts on the feet are common and usually not harmful. But they can be painful. In most cases, warts are treatable and can be removed.
Causes of warts on the feet
Warts are typically caused by a virus that enters the skin through a small abrasion or cut on the foot. One of the most common types of warts is a plantar wart.
A plantar wart is caused by HPV virus. Plantar warts are most common on the weight-bearing parts of the foot. The virus can enter the foot from walking around barefoot on surfaces that the virus is on.
When a wart develops on the bottom of the foot, the pressure from walking may cause the wart to grow inward and create a firm bump under the skin.
Symptoms of warts
Warts can vary in size. If left untreated, it is possible a wart may grow to an inch or more. In addition, warts can spread, and a cluster of warts can develop. Spread occurs by touching the wart and then touching another area of the foot.
Symptoms of warts may include the following:
- A small rough growth usually on the base of the toes, bottom of the foot, or the heel
- Pain and tenderness when standing or walking
- Black pinpoint dots on the foot, which are clotted blood vessels
- Bleeding from the wart
In some instances, warts on the feet can disappear. But in most cases, they reappear at some point in the same spot on the foot.
Typically, plantar warts are not serious and do not cause any significant problems. But if the wart grows, it can lead to pain, which may alter normal walking or movement. When you change the way you walk, it can lead to further issues, such as joint or muscle pain.
Treatment for warts
Wart treatment may depend on how big the wart is, the location on the foot, and if there is more than one. In many cases, at-home treatment may work. But there are also times it is best to see a foot specialist. See a podiatrist in the following instances:
- You are not sure the growth is a wart
- The wart interferes with walking or normal activities
- The wart is causing pain
- The growth is bleeding or changes color
- You have diabetes
- Home treatment has not worked, or the wart has come back after treatment
- You have an autoimmune disease or a weakened immune system from medications, such as chemotherapy
Your podiatrist will evaluate the wart and determine the best treatment. Common wart treatment may include:
Topical medication: Both over the counter and prescription-strength medication containing salicylic acid may help “burn” the wart off. The medication usually is applied several times. It works by removing one layer of the wart at a time. If over the counter medication does not work, your foot specialist can prescribe something stronger.
Other acid medications: Additional medication is sometimes used to treat a wart called trichloroacetic acid. The acid also helps burn the wart from the skin. More than one treatment is often needed.
Freezing: If medication does not work or many warts are present, your foot specialist may recommend freezing, which is also called cryotherapy. The procedure involves applying liquid nitrogen to the wart.
Laser therapy: Sometimes, the best option may be using a laser to cut the blood supply to the wart to remove it.
Microwave: a new treatment involves microwave technology to get rid of wart.
Minor surgery: If laser surgery is not an option, the foot specialist may opt to cut the wart using an electric needle.
If you have any questions about foot warts or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Podiatrist Sheldon Nadal, D.P.M at the Bayview Eglinton Podiatry Clinic in Toronto.