What Causes Warts on Feet and What You Can Do About Them

Warts on any part of your body are bothersome. But warts on feet are especially bothersome.

This is because they’re both unsightly as well as painful. With each step you take, the pain caused from the friction and pressure applied to a wart on your foot can quickly become unbearable. This makes treatment a necessity.

What Causes Plantar Warts on Feet

Foot warts (also known as plantar warts) are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This is the same virus that causes other types of warts to grow on the body.

If you’re wondering how you might have contracted the virus, unfortunately it’s virtually impossible to tell.

HPV is everywhere. It can be spread from person to person. But you can also get it by coming into contact with surfaces that can harbor the virus. These include warm, damp places, like the inside of your shoe or the floor of a public pool, gym or shower room.

Once contact is made, the tiniest cut, scrape or crack on your toes or feet is all it takes for the virus to make its way into your body.

From there, the virus often incubates for a period of weeks or months. But once this period is over, a single wart or even a cluster of warts can appear at any time.

The good news is that the older you get, the less likely you are to develop new warts. This is due to your body’s increased immune response to the virus over time.

What is a Plantar Wart …Could I Have Something Else?

Obviously, warts aren’t the only types of growths that can occur on the bottom of your feet or on your toes. So how can you tell the difference?

One commonly cited difference between other types of growths and a foot wart is the location of sensitivity.

If you experience pain or discomfort from pressure applied to the sides of your skin growth, as opposed to direct pressure, then it’s likely a foot wart.

Another way to tell the difference is by appearance. Plantar warts are flat and rough and usually have very distinct edges. They’re fleshy or brownish in color and they have small black spots in the center (those are blood vessels by the way).

How to Prevent Plantar Warts on Feet

Preventing warts is rather straightforward when you keep the following three facts about warts and how they spread in mind:

  1. HPV is highly contagious, so no touching, picking or scratching at your existing warts. Otherwise, you could easily spread them from one part of your body to another. Also, if you do end up touching your warts for whatever reason, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

  2. HPV gets into the body via breaks in the skin, so you should take good care of your feet. Be sure to protect your skin from injury and tend to any open cuts or abrasions on your feet right away.
  3. HPV thrives in moist environments, like a pair of shoes or socks so keep your feet clean and dry by changing your socks and disinfecting your shoes regularly.
  4. Also, avoid walking barefoot outside, especially on damp surfaces or in communal areas, e.g. swimming pool decks, public showers, etc. Instead, wear a pair of sandals or flip-flops. This will not only help protect you from the HPV virus, but it will also protect your skin in general.

Finally, there are no guarantees when it comes to preventing warts, but if you follow these basic precautions, you should significantly reduce your chances of getting them in the future.

How to Get Rid of Plantar Warts on Feet

Foot warts are not always easy to get rid of, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t treat them at home yourself. In fact, I’d suggest starting with this 5-step plantar wart removal process.

It works really well on small to medium sized warts, however, larger warts may not respond as well. Either way, if you don’t see noticeable results within a few weeks time, then you can always consult your doctor for more aggressive treatment.

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