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Plantar Warts Treatment
What you need to know about Plantar Warts

Contrary to the old wise tales warts are not contracted from contact with a toad. Warts are contracted from the HPV virus. Humans become infected with the virus through breaks or cracks in the skin. The HPV virus flourishes in warm moist environments like public locker rooms, showers, or swimming pools. Plantar warts can spread to other areas of the foot and increase in size or number. This results in clusters of bumps or nodules.

Plantar warts are typically non-cancerous skin growths or virus on the soles of feet caused by the human papillomavirus virus (HPV). Plantar warts typically enter the body via tiny cuts, liasions, cracks or breaks in the skin. Plantar warts frequently develop on the soles of the feet at pressure points like the heels or balls of the feet.

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Generally, plantar warts do not represent a serious health concern. Plantar warts may be irritating or painful and can be resistant to treatment. See a physician if warts are painful or irritating or do not respond to home remedies.

Plantar Warts: Symptoms

Plantar warts can be mistaken for corns or calluses. To determine what type of warts are present look for small flesh colored bumps on the soles of the feet. Plantar warts are typically hard flat growths with well-defined boundaries and a rough surface. The brownish growths should have one or more black points or dots housed in the wart that represent blood vessels. These tiny black dots are not wart seeds. Small plantar warts can be diagnosed as bumps that segment normal contours or lines in the skin on the foot.

Symptoms of Plantar Warts Signal a Need for Treatment

Plantar Warts: Causes

You acquire warts through direct contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV. Some types of HPV tend to cause warts on your hands, fingers or near your fingernails. Others tend to cause warts on the feet.

Compared to other types of HPV virus, plantar warts are not highly contagious. However, plantar warts live well \in warm moist environments, like shower floors, locker rooms or public swimming pools. The virus can be contracted in public areas by walking barefoot where the virus is present.

Similar to other infectious diseases, HPV may be passed from person to person. As plantar warts exist on the bottom of feet, the virus can spread other places on the foot by touching or scratching. The virus may also spread by contact with skin shed or blood from a wart.

As individual immune systems respond differently to HPV virus not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts. Other family members, although exposed, may respond to the virus differently. This is one reason why entire families do not necessarily contract warts or spread them through shared clothing, towels, or showers.

Causes and Risks with Plantar Warts
Common Causes of Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts: Risks

Populations that contract plantar warts may experience the following exposure:
1. HPV virus exposure multiple times.
2. Cracked, chapped, or damaged skin tissue on the feet.
3. Weak or stressed auto immune system.

Medical science does not completely understand the risk factors associated with contracting warts. Certain individuals are more susceptible to warts when exposed to the HPV virus just as some people are more likely to catch colds. Statistically, children and teenagers are more vulnerable to warts.

How to Reduce Risk of Contracting Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts: Medical Attention

Always seek medical advice if warts are excessively painful or change in appearance or color. See a physician if warts recur, persist, or multiply following home treatment or if warts interfere with daily activities. Individuals with diabetes or circulatory disorders should not attempt home treatment. Consult your physician if you are in doubt or concern.

If concerned over a correct diagnosis, consult your physician for a correct diagnosis. In addition to plantar warts, It is possible for more serious lesions to appear on feet. These growths are classified as cancerous tumors called carcinomas and melanomas. If in doubt over the proper identification and diagnosis of lumps or lesions consult a physician.

Plantar Warts: Diagnosis

Usually, physicians can visually diagnose plantar warts. However, in some cases, plantar warts can be confused with corns or calluses. Generally, a clear diagnosis can be achieved by determining if a “blood” supply exists to the lump or bump. This requires a physician to cut a small amount of tissue away to determine if a blood supply to the suspect wart is present. Corns and calluses do not have a blood supply and will not bleed. Plantar warts will show signs of bleeding from small pinpoint blood vessels.
If in doubt over a diagnosis, the physician can take a sample of the affected foot tissue and send it out for a laboratory analysis.

Singling Out Symptoms of Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts: Complications

Plantar warts can be tough to eliminate. They regularly shed active virus cells on to the skin of the foot causing new warts to grow before they can always be removed. In some cases, new warts appear as fast as old ones disappear. The best course of action is to treat new warts quickly so they do not have time to spread.
Plantar warts, if untreated, can grow to an inch or more in size and can spread causing clusters of warts called & mosaic warts. Plantar warts may also become very painful. If painful groups of plantar warts develop it may be difficult to walk or run.

Plantar Warts: Treatment

Plantar warts may eventually disappear without treatment. However, if warts are painful they should be treated. There are home based natural and OTC (Over-the-Counter) treatments. Physicians use a variety of methods to treat warts. They include Cryotherapy, Salicylic Acid or Cantharidin. Following treatments, physicians will give instructions for self-care. Salicylic acid patches are applied daily with instruction to remove dead tissue with a nail file or pumice stone between treatments. It may take several weeks for the wart to completely disappear.

If OTC, home based remedies, or topical treatments are ineffective, your physician may recommend an office visit to remove it. The physician may use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart and kill it. This avoids scarring or damaging surrounding tissues but may only kill the top portion of the wart. Following the initial treatment, if the wart reappears, the nitrogen freezing treatment must be repeated until the entire wart is completely killed. An alternate therapy requires the physician to cut out the wart. This surgical procedure requires topical anesthesia and may result in surrounding tissue scaring or damage.

Plantar Warts: Treatments

Physicians may recommend any one of the following treatments or a combination of treatments:

Medicinal Remedies: Natural wart treatments and remedies. There are a number of natural topical treatments for plantar warts. However, many the natural products are not effective as advertised. One of best natural topical wart treatments is Wart Rx available at medicinalremedies.com. Avoid natural home-based treatments or remedies that are not backed by research and testing.

Treating Children with Plantar Warts
Conventional Plantar Wart Treatments

Salicylic acid: Acid based wart medications and patches available OTC at drugstores. In order for plantar warts to be effective treated by salicylic acid a solution of 40 percent or greater is required. Common OTC salicylic acid solution or patch products include Curad Mediplast, Dr. Scholl's Clear Away Plantar, and other brands. Acid based treatments cause the skin to peel a small amount at a time. Acid solutions need to be applied regularly as much as once or twice each day. Care should be given not to contact acids with healthy skin, as it can become irritated from the acid. Between applications remove dead skin and wart tissue with a pumice stone or emery board. As acid treatments are slow, the process will need to be repeated for three or four weeks to completely kill plantar warts.

Use of Salicylic Acid in Treating Plantar Warts
Treating Plantar Warts with Salicylic Acid

Freezing (cryotherapy): Freezing is considered one of the more effective treatments for most common treatments for plantar warts. Freezing warts kills both good and infected skin tissue from very cold temperatures. As a result, this form of treatment is not relatively painless and fast. Although considered very effective, multiple treatments may be required to kill persistent warts as freezing warts typically only kills the top of the wart. This may result in multiple trips to the doctor’s office every two to four weeks. Physicians can apply liquid nitrogen by spray or cotton-tipped applicator. Blistering will result around the wart and dead tissue will begin to peel in 1 to 2 weeks. Cryotherapy may now be done at home. Liquid Nitrogen is now available OTC in pressure charged canisters at drug stores.

Cantharidin: Cantharidan is a caustic chemical substance extracted from the blister beetle. Both doctors and natural healers have used Cantharidin to treat warts for centuries. This therapy is can be combined with salicylic acid to increase treatment effectiveness. Physicians paint Cantharidan on the wart and cover it with a dressing. This treatment is painless and allows physicians to gradually trim dead tissue away from blistered areas. However, like the Salicylic acid treatment, the application process may require multiple treatments to kill underlying tissue. Some physicians may be reluctant to use Cantharidin as it has not been approved by the FDA.

Plantar Warts: Medical Treatments

Resistant warts that do not respond well common treatments may require more aggressive treatment options:

Minor surgery: Minor surgery typically consists of cutting or removing the wart surgically. This requires use of either a scalpel or electric needle called electrodesiccation. The electric needle destroys the wart by burning or carderizing the wart. Both surgical techniques require topical anesthesia and risk scaring. Both procedures are considered painful.

Plantar Wart Treatments Could be Dangerous
Removing Plantar Warts with Minor Surgery

Laser surgery: Physicians may also use lasers to eliminate tough warts. However, laser surgery is painful, expensive, and may take longer to heal than other less invasive treatments.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy harnesses the body's natural auto immune system to fight and kill tough-to-treat warts. Physicians use several immunotherapy treatments for planter warts. Physicians may elect to inject the wart with interferon medication to boost the auto immune system's instinct to fight warts or the doctor may inject your warts with a foreign antigen substance that stimulates the auto immune system. Physicians often use mump antigens as many people are immunized against mumps. This causes the mumps antigen to set off an auto immune reaction that fight off warts.

Imiquimod (Aldara): Imiquidmod is a prescription immunotherapy medication that stimulates the body to release immune system proteins called cytokines to fight off warts. This medication may be applied directly on warts. Imiquimod is FDA approved for the treatment of genital and perianal warts. However, it is also effective in treating common warts and plantar warts.

Other medications: In severe plantar wart cases the doctor may elect to inject each wart with a medication called bleomycin that kills the virus. This medication is administered systemically in high doses. Individual wart injections can be painful and may cause rashes or itching. Bleomycin has not been approved by the FDA and is not intended for use if pregnant, breast-feeding or if circulation problems exist.
Experimental treatment:

Duct tape: Researchers published a study in 2002 that found duct tape killed more warts than cryotherapy freezing. Study members who used duct tape therapy covered their warts with duct tape for six days, then soaked their warts in water and rubbed the warts with an emery board or pumice stone. This process was repeated for two months or until their warts went away. Researchers believe that duck tape therapy may work by irritating warts and the surrounding skin tissue causing the body's immune system to kick in and kill warts. Duct tape is growing in popularity and is commonly used to treat warts, particularly in children who are sensitive to painful therapies.

Plantar Warts: Prevention

To prevent and lower the risk of contracting plantar warts:
1. Avoid coming in direct contact with warts on yourself and others.
2. Change socks regularly, keep shoes and feet dry and clean.
3. Avoid going bear-foot in public areas. Wear shoes or sandals in public pools and locker rooms.
4. Do not scratch or pick at warts as this can spread the virus.

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