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Hidden Plantar Warts

  • Dr. Bruce Zappan
  • August 03, 2017

Plantar warts grow on the bottom of the foot and tend to appear in the two areas that are under the most pressure—the heel and ball of the foot. Since these areas are often covered with thick callused skin, a plantar wart will grow inward, hidden from view, causing tenderness and pain whenever you bear weight.

While plantar warts may resolve on their own after a year or two, oftentimes relief of the pain and tenderness requires the immediate attention of your foot specialist. You can try over-the-counter treatments and they may work in some cases, but the wart will usually grow back.

For painful and persistent plantar warts your podiatrist may suggest one or more of the following procedures:

  • Liquid nitrogen freezing (cryotherapy)—The wart is killed with liquid nitrogen and the dead tissue removed. This may take multiple treatments. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area to any pain.
  • Salicylic acid—Prescription strength salicylic acid is applied to peel the wart away a little at a time. This method may be combined with cryotherapy.
  • Laser treatment—This relatively painless process can be used to burn and seal off blood vessels causing the wart to die. v
  • Surgery—In severe cases, it may be necessary to remove the wart surgically.
  • Since warts are caused by a very common virus that can be easily transmitted by contact, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting or spreading warts. These include:

  • Don’t touch warts—Try to avoid touching or itching your own warts because this can spread them to other areas of your body or to other people.
  • Protect your feet—When in public areas like swimming pools, showers, gyms, and locker rooms, always wear sandals or flip flops to avoid direct contact with the virus.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry—Cleaning your feet regularly and changing your socks and shoes on a daily basis can help by eliminating the virus that causes plantar warts.

For any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles it is important to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.