If you’ve found small, flat warts on the soles of your or your child’s feet, you’re most likely dealing with plantar warts. Plantar warts are very common—particularly in children—so there’s no need to panic. In fact, many people have no pain associated with warts and can simply wait for them to go away on their own. Here are some basic answers to the questions you’re probably asking:
What Causes Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are caused by a viral infection, a strain of human papillomavirus (HPV). There are many strains, and those that cause plantar or palmar (found on the palm of your hand) warts are different from the ones that causes genital warts. Plantar warts are noncancerous, and affect only the top level of skin.
Warts are spread by people, but not always through direct contact. For example, showering without shoes in a gym shower after someone with plantar warts might cause you to develop warts as well. A weakened immune system may place someone at a higher risk for developing warts, but anyone can experience them. About 5% of the U.S. population suffers from foot-related fungal infections or warts.
What Kind of Doctor Should I See?
If this is your first time experiencing foot problems, you may not have a regular podiatric physician, or foot doctor. But 75% of Americans suffer from foot health problems of some kind during their lives, so it’s probably a good idea to find a podiatrist in your area. You can always ask another of your doctors for a recommendation.
Podiatrists treat many common foot complaints, such as ingrown toenails, flat feet and bunions. Podiatrists treat 82% of corn and callus problems as well.
What Is the Treatment for Plantar Warts?
Over-the-counter treatments for plantar warts are available, but they only work about 50% of the time. If you’re self-conscious about a wart or it is causing you pain, you should visit a podiatrist who performs plantar wart removal.
A doctor will be able to remove the wart by freezing. A laser treatment for wart removal is another possibility if milder measures are unsuccessful, your warts are large or you have a cluster of warts. Plantar wart laser treatment effectively removes warts, and any pain associated with the procedure should only last for a few days.