Warts are harmless outgrowths on the skin caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) infection. They grow on all body parts including face, fingers, feet, legs, hands, knees, inside your mouth, and on the genital and rectal areas.
Plantar warts are warts that appear on the bottom or soles of your feet as light brown bumps with tiny black dots in them.
All warts can spread from one person to another with skin contact. Warts may also spread by using towels or other personal items which have been used by a person with warts. Warts can bleed if picked or cut and can cause pain, especially plantar warts.
Warts will be diagnosed by simple observation of the lesions. Your doctor may scrape the superficial layer of the wart and check for clotted blood vessels and at times a biopsy may be done.
Warts disappear naturally but may take months or even years to disappear. However, if the plantar warts are causing pain or spreading, they can be treated with different type of chemicals such as salicylic acid, liquid nitrogen to freeze the warts and also by laser treatment. Applying salicylic acid once or twice a day will help you to destroy the warts. If the warts do not heal then they may be removed surgically. Warts can recur even after treatment is used to remove them.
Other treatments include:
- Cantharone, a medicine derived from the Japanese blister beetle, is applied with a Q-tip on the warts. It causes a blister at each site and after sometime warts are destroyed. This treatment is very effective for most warts.
- Immunotherapy works by using your immune system to fight the warts. Interferon may be injected into warts or an antigen may be used to stimulate your immune response. Alternately, a cream can be applied to the wart which causes your immune system to release cytokines to attach the HPV virus.
Pulsed dye laser is magnetized to the blood vessels which feed on warts to burn them closed and then the warts fall off. Carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers are also used for warts.