What are they?
Plantar warts are skin infections that can appear as single lesions or in clusters (mosaic warts), and can grow quite large if left untreated. Plantar warts are often mistaken for corns or callus, however wart tissue usually contains small black dots while corns have a central ‘plug’. Warts on the feet usually have a layer of callus over them and can become painful if they occur on the soles of the feet.
What causes them?
Contrary to the old wives tales, warts are not transmitted by contact with a toad or frog! They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They can be spread via direct contact and are more common in children than adults. People with weaker immune systems are more at risk of developing warts.
A common place to catch warts are public showers for example at swimming pools, gyms or hotels. An easy way to prevent this is to wear thongs when showering away from home and ensuring any cuts or scratches are covered with a bandaid.
What can I do about it?
Small warts can sometimes disappear spontaneously, however if they have been present for a few years they are likely to need treatment. If the wart is small, medicated wart patches from the pharmacy can reduce the size of the wart. If the wart is larger or has overlaying callus, these patches may be ineffective.
Your podiatrist will remove the layer of callus over the wart and apply a suitable chemical to the wart. If the wart is painful, felt padding can be applied to relieve your pain. Most warts need a few treatments to completely cure them and it is important to be persistent in order to fully eradicate them.