A wart is a thickened and elevated small growth of skin that develops when the skin becomes infected by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can develop anywhere on the foot, but typically occur on areas of direct pressure under the foot, such as the ball and the heel. Hard and thick callus can grow over the wart lesions as they grow inward and make them more painful. Clotted blood vessels or as the are commonly called “wart seeds” present as black dots at the base of the lesions.
The human papillomavirus invades the skin by penetrating microscopic breaks, tears, or other vulnerable sites on its surface. This is the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body and only infects the superficial structures of the skin. HPV thrives in warm, moist environments such as communal bathing facilities and public swimming areas, which can harbor the virus. Warts are often contracted when walking barefoot on dirty surfaces where the virus is lurking specially in children and people who are immunocompromised.
Once the virus enters the skin, symptoms will usually be noticed within several weeks. While most of the warts will not cause any pain and discomfort, the ones that grow on the bottom of your foot (plantar warts) could get very painful upon walking and running. If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of several warts. Warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications contain acids or chemicals that can destroy skin cells and surrounding healthy tissue. Most treatments including OTC preparations have a high failure rate. Prescription Salicylic acid, Vitamin A, bleomycin injection and immune therapy can be effective in removing the warts, however, treatment can take up to a year.
At Gotham Footcare, we utilize a compounded wart-removal medication that is highly effective in eliminating most wart lesions. For lesions that are more resistant to this form of treatment, laser wart removal, and/or Cryosurgery ( freezing the wart) may be performed under local anesthesia at our outpatient surgery facility. Laser treatment reduces post-treatment scarring and is a safe form of eliminating wart lesions.