Plantar warts are those pesky little lesions that show up on the sole of the foot or between toes. The surface of the Plantar wart resembles a tiny cauliflower and can be differentiated from calluses or corns by the absence of skin striations (fingerprints) on the lesion. Both calluses and corns retain the normal striations where as plantar warts will have a small circular pattern that interrupts the natural striations.
Plantar Warts are caused by human papilliomavirus (HPV) and are highly contagious. The virus can live on moist surfaces such as shower floors for months and are easily spread through contact. Adults usually have built up immunities to the virus and are far less susceptible than children.
While the Plantar wart itself is benign, treatment is usually recommended to reduce discomfort while walking or standing, as well as limiting risks of transmitting the virus. There are many treatments for plantar warts which include over-the-counter remedies such as salicylic acid or freezing methods which use dimethyl ether. More stubborn warts may require a visit to your primary care physician, dermatologist or podiatrist. Also, see your doctor if the wart becomes infected, inflamed or bleeds. (Warts on the face or genitals also warrant an immediate trip to the doctor.)
To prevent the spread of the plantar wart virus, take precautions when using public showers or around swimming pools by wearing sandals. Never share socks or shoes with a person who has planter warts and do not make direct contact with the lesions. If you are treating a child or other person with warts, use gloves and wash hands thoroughly. Keep the lesions covered with socks or a bandage until completely gone.
Most warts will eventually go away on their own but it could take months or even years and untreated plantar warts can become painful. It is recommended that warts be treated for a more rapid recovery and less chance of spreading the virus.