Warts are a very common skin lesion that can occur in children or adults and at any age. Essentially all warts are alike however, where they occur on the body indicates which type of virus is causing the wart. Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The HPV are numbered and there are over one hundred different types of HPV. Typically there are only a few different types that cause warts on the feet, as well as the hands. You may have just one, multiples on the feet and/or hands, and sometimes large clusters. When they occur on the bottom of the foot, they are called plantar warts because the bottom of the foot is known as the plantar surface of the foot! This can be painful because we are walking on them, Ouch!
Warts can have different appearances and other types of skin lesions can look like warts. Many times they will seem to have black spots in them. These are the tiniest blood vessels in the body known as capillaries. Warts have a lot of them which means they are fed very well. This makes them difficult to eradicate. This is why there are so many ways to try and get rid of them. There is no one way that works all the time. Some ways do work better than others in different people. I tell my patients that we will try one method and if it doesn’t seem to be doing the job after a specified period of time, we will switch to a different treatment. All the methods of getting rid of the warts are aimed at doing one thing: stimulate the body’s immune system against the intruder, the HPV. In some cases, the wart will spontaneously go away on its own. This only happens in a small percentage of people. Once we can get the body to recognize the virus as an intruder, the wart will start to disappear. No easy task though!! Unfortunately, once you get a wart, you will be prone to getting it again in the same spot, a different part of the foot, or maybe the opposite foot. Since it is a virus, we have no way to actually kill it. When the body attacks the virus, it puts it into a kind of sleep state. It may be gone for a month, a year, 5 years, 20 years, or hopefully forever. If you don’t treat it, many times it will enlarge and spread producing even more.
When you come into the office to be evaluated, I will be able to identify the lesion for you. If it is a wart, sometimes we will use acid therapy, freeze therapy, other topical or injectable chemical treatments, laser surgical removal, oral treatments, or surgical excision. Most of these treatments are painless and can be performed in the office. I tailor the treatment to the patient and their lifestyle. We make the decision together!
Call our office at 215-638-4446 and we’ll fight these nasty lesions together. Let’s make your feet healthy and happy again!
Dr. Mitchell Shikoff
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