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Plantar Warts and Your Child’s Feet
Plantar Warts are somewhat common on children’s feet as well as other parts of the body. Caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Plantar Warts are typically seen in patients ranging in age 12-16. The wart is essentially an infection of the skin caused by the virus.
Where Does HPV Come From?
HPV is spread via direct contact to the skin. Most commonly, it comes from contact with the bare skin – often occurring from bare feet in public showers. However, it’s difficult to ascertain exactly where patients get it as it has a notably long incubation period – anywhere from 1-20 months. Also, complicating detection is that initially it can look and feel like a simple callus on the sole of the foot. There is typically no pain so the virus can go overlooked and undertreated.
How to Identify HPV.
One defining feature of plantar warts is the appearance of small, black circular dots slightly visible underneath the skin. These “dots” are areas of blood, contained in capillaries that are normally invisible. However, as the HPV grows and comes up towards the surface of the foot, it stimulates blood supply to come with it, which keeps the virus thriving.
Does Is Spread to Other Areas?
The strain of HPV causing plantar warts cannot be spread to other areas of the body, such as the mouth or genitals. But, Plantar Warts can quickly multiply on the surrounding area.
At Home Treatments.
Warts can, in some cases, heal on their own. The body’s immune system can kick in and attack the virus and rid it from the body, but this is not typical.
Over the counter methods include Salicylic Acid preparations (pads, liquid, gel, or ointment) and Vitamin A. Also helpful is to keep the feet clean and dry to eliminate moisture and decrease the viruses chance to thrive.
However, most often, professional treatment from your Podiatrist is recommended. Dr. Frank Smith and Dr. Michael Klein are very experienced with the diagnosis and treatment of Plantar Warts. The factors they will consider when recommending treatment include:
– The severity of Plantar Warts and how long they have been on the area.
– What is the temperament of your child? This is often a discussion that involves you, the parent, to gain valuable insight into your child’s tolerance.
Acids and ointments: Similar to those available over the counter include Canthrone, Efudex and Salicylic Acids.
Cryotherapy: (freezing of the wart with sodium nitrate): Causes the wart to turn black, and eventually fall off. This treatment is slightly more painful than some other options and often requires several applications for success.
Debridement: (trimming and cutting out of the wart): In order to make sure that enough of the wart is removed to prevent a recurrence, a local anesthetic must be administered with a needle.
Laser treatment: A relatively new method of treating warts. However, it’s considered effective in ridding your child of the infection. There is minimal to no pain associated with laser treatment, making it a good choice.
If you think your child may have a plantar wart or require podiatric treatment as a result of contact with HPV, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a diagnosis and the best in recommended care.
Francis J. Smith, D.P.M., A.B.F.A.S.
Board certified in Foot Surgery and Michael A. Klein, D.P.M. A.B.F.A.S.
Board certified in Foot Surgery