Do you feel discomfort or even pain in your step? Are you noticing strange patches of skin on your feet that are irritated, yellowed, and unsightly? It could very well be that you have a plantar wart. These are very common on feet as they are usually the only parts of our body that make contact with the ground, meaning they more easily pick up Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are many different strains of HPV, and several of these can trigger the development of plantar warts on the feet.
Who is More Likely to Develop Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are more common in individuals who have weaker immune systems. These can include people living with HIV or AIDS, taking corticosteroid or immunosuppressive medication, and those suffering from pneumonia. In addition, epidemics of plantar warts are known to sometimes break out among groups of people who share the same environment, such as at a gym changing room. Above all else, children are at the greatest risk of developing plantar warts due to the inexperience of their immune system. While children are highly prone to the development of warts, they also heal much quicker compared to adults due to the resilience of their immune system.
How Do I Know if I Have Plantar Warts?
There are several symptoms to watch out for when it comes to plantar warts. First off, you might get the feeling of having “painful pebbles” in your shoes. You could also experience throbbing pain whenever you compress the sides of the wart. Additionally, plantar warts can often resemble calluses with a flat, rough and thick patch on the skin; you’ll typically see a circular flat spot with a depressed area in the middle. In some cases, plantar warts may appear as if they are yellowed with a crust of sorts, and small black dots can be an easy giveaway. Note that you may experience one, some or all of these symptoms, many of which are visual, so it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on any suspicious area of your foot that you believe could be the beginnings of a plantar wart. Always check with a suitable healthcare professional such as a podiatrist for a diagnosis and proper care to address it.
What Does “Plantar” Even Mean?
“Plantar” means “Of the sole” in Latin. Unlike other types of warts, plantar warts are typically quite painful as the pressure from walking and standing forces them to grow into your skin. Like all warts, plantar warts are caused by HPV, specifically types 1,2,4,60, and 63. Underneath the skin, the wart can have finger-like roots that reach down and grow, making them very difficult to treat effectively from the surface.
How Do You Get Plantar Warts?
HPV thrives in warm, moist places such as swimming pool floors and locker rooms. For instance, small puddles on the tiles of a pool deck can serve as breeding grounds for HPV strains. The virus is typically transmitted via direct contact, usually when you have a small crack or opening in your skin.
How Are They Diagnosed?
A podiatrist (foot and ankle specialist) is the best person to see if you’re concerned that you may have plantar warts. They can typically diagnose the condition accurately by look and touch alone, however, in rare cases, they make conduct a biopsy just to be certain.
What Treatment Options Are Available?
There is a range of treatment options available to patients with plantar warts. However, note that the effectiveness of these can vary significantly. You can take your pick of everything from home remedies to surgical excisions, but the two most common clinical approaches used in the United States are immunotherapy and destruction.
What is the Most Effective Treatment Method?
Historically, destructive methods have been the most common form of treatment. However, they have been proven as largely ineffective as they are designed to eliminate signs and symptoms as opposed to treating the root cause of the wart in question, which is the HPV strain itself. It’s for this reason that Swift microwave therapy was developed; we believe it to be the most effective method for plantar wart treatment given that it stimulates the body to target the HPV strain directly.
How Does Swift Work?
The Swift microwave therapy system utilizes carefully controlled pulses of heat energy to stimulate the dermis and immune system to attack troublesome HPV bacteria, without any need for surgery or post-operative effects. Treatments are administered with throwaway applicator tips to prevent the transfer of HPV, ensuring a clean and effective solution with no downtime, bandages or otherwise. Swift is being adopted by more and more experienced podiatrists every day as a result.
What Should I Do Next?
If you believe that you have a plantar wart, it’s better to reach out to the experts. We advise that you seek treatment from an experienced podiatrist who can offer the Swift microwave therapy treatment option as a stress-free, streamlined solution with no need for invasive surgery.