What is This Thing on My Foot: Facts about Your Plantar Warts
Verruca Plantaris, or Plantar Warts, is a sometimes painful condition that affects the bottom of your feet. Plantar Warts can be very painful if left untreated, but if caught early may not ever reach that stage. If you have some mysterious bumps on your feet, this article might be helpful for determining whether you have Plantar Warts, what causes them and what treatments are available to you.
Part 1: What are they?
Verruca Plantaris are not caused by fungus or hygiene as is sometimes thought. It is caused by a strain of the Human Papillomavirus infecting the toes or soles of the feet. The warts are actually tumors caused by HPV types 1, 2, 4 and 63. The virus is known to cause cancer in other parts of the body, but on the feet and in other parts of the body it is usually benign.
The virus infects the outermost layer of skin on the foot through direct contact possibly through tiny cuts. Usually the virus is contracted in showers or swimming pools. It is very contagious because the virus can survive for many months without a host. Because of this, at least 7 percent of the population and possibly up to 10 percent is infected with Plantar Warts. As the warts begin to form, a hard layer of skin will form over them, pushing them deeper into the foot and delaying visibility.
Part 2: Are MY bumps Plantar Warts?
The simplest description of a Planter Wart is that it resembles a Cauliflower. A full grown wart has a white head with dots of noticeable black hemorrhages called petechiae under the skin. The real key to identifying Verruca Plantaris lies in skin striations.
These are lines on your feet that resemble fingerprints. With most bumps, the skin striae will go right through it as your skin cells are unaware that the bumps are even present. Verruca Plantaris alters the cell DNA in such a way that the striations will go right around them. Still, if you think might have Plantar Warts, the best course of action is to see a qualified dermatologist as soon as possible. Only a healthcare professional can diagnose your foot condition with 100 percent accuracy.
Part 3: Oh no! I think these ARE Planter Warts. What do I do?
The treatment of Plantar Warts is separated into three broad categories: Pharmaceutical, Surgical, and Anecdotal. Pharmaceutical, or drug based, treatments include: Salicylic acid (an anti-inflammatory similar to aspirin), injection of anti-gens (including mumps, Candida, and trichophytin) to make the host immune to the virus or chemotherapy.
Surgical solutions include freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery), surgical incision and laser surgery. The latter two come with a dangerous risk of scarring. Finally, suffocating the surrounding skin with plastic wrap has been anecdotally found to provide relief. This method has been tested, but the results are usually thrown out for scientific reasons. This treatment is unreliable at best and must be applied very carefully to be effective.