If you are human, you have likely had either a plantar or palmer wart at some point in your life. The two are essentially the same, only plantar warts are found on your feet and palmer warts appear on your hands. Each are noncancerous growths caused by a strain of the virus human papillomavirus (HPV).
These warts aren’t dangerous, but are unsightly in nature and may cause pain if they grow in an inconvenient location. So if you notice a strange bubble on your foot, it is probably just a plantar wart.
Bubble on Foot
The obvious symptom of plantar warts is the fact that you have a bubble on your foot that should not be there. This “bubble” will look like a small, rough and grainy growth. You will often be able to see black pinpoints, which are simply small, clotted blood vessels. Those pinpoints are not, as commonly assumed, any form of seed that will develop into more warts. Another symptom that might have led to the discovery of the wart in the first place is pain or tenderness in that spot when you walk or stand up.
Why Plantar Warts Appear
Essentially, HPV is the main culprit in causing warts. Everyone’s immune system responds a little differently to this virus, so not all people who come into contact with the virus will develop warts. An environment that is more conducive to the growth of warts is one that is warm and moist. For this reason, the virus can be contracted at public swimming pools or locker rooms. In addition to these environmental conditions, you are more likely to develop dry, cracked skin, a cut or scrape, or fragile skin from being in water for an extended period, which could allow the virus to get inside.
At some point you may need to come in and see us at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic. This becomes the case when the lesion changes appearance or color, is painful, or the discomfort from the growth interferes with normal activities. If you have diabetes and a wart appears on your foot—which you should be checking daily—you will need treatment supervised by Dr. Silvester. If your immune system is compromised due to a disorder, or if you aren’t even sure that the lesion is a wart, then you should also make an appointment with us.
Making the Unsightly Growths History
Plantar warts are easy to recognize and diagnosing them often requires no more than a simple examination of the lesion. It is possible that a biopsy will be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis, but this is not usually necessary.
Treating this condition is generally easy enough to do at home. Over-the-counter wart treatments are an option and have a 50% success rate. Repeated applications are most likely required for these at-home remedies. In certain instances we prescribe a stronger strength medication that removes the layers of a wart a bit at a time.
In addition, cryotherapy (freezing therapy) is an option that entails the use of liquid nitrogen. With this process, liquid nitrogen is applied to the wart and it causes a blister to form around the problem area. The dead skin gradually falls off and the plantar wart becomes history. All of these processes require time, however, so make sure you are not planning on an instant fix.
Keep Them Away in the First Place
The best way to cure plantar warts is to prevent them in the first place. This isn’t always possible, but there are measures that you can take to reduce the risk of them popping up on your feet. Examples of these include making sure that you avoid direct contact warts, wearing shoes and sandals in public places (swimming pools, gym showers), and using a disposable emery board when they do show up. Washing your hands carefully and keeping your feet dry and clean are other steps that can help.
If you need assistance with a problematic plantar wart, or have any other foot or ankle issues, contact Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Pleasanton, TX, today at (830) 569-3338 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Darren Silvester.