The plantar or bottom of the foot is host to a common viral infection of the skin tissue called the plantar wart. A common myth is that warts have roots or seeds that nurture their growth. The fact is that the warts live only within the top layer of the skin. They have a spongy appearance and contain very small black, brown, or red spots, which are the blood vessels feeding the warts. The most difficult wart to treat is a resistive type that appears in a pattern of groups or clusters. These are known as mosaic warts.

The wart virus commonly lives in moist, sweaty environments like showers and around swimming pools, and can be spread from person to person under certain circumstances. Warts, although not highly contagious, can also spread to other areas of the foot if not properly treated.

Many people treat warts with over-the-counter medicines. However, these medications have not been proven to be successful in permanent wart removal. The skin on the bottom of the foot is too thick for these over-the-counter medications to penetrate and the wart inevitably returns within weeks. Professional treatment is recommended for the removal of warts, however, there are no guarantees that the wart will not return. Conservative treatment methods include cryosurgery (the use of liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide to freeze the wart and destroy the lesion), pulsed dye laser surgery (the use of a high beam of light to destroy the cells of the wart), and chemical removal (the application of strong acidic ointments and caustics). Surgical excision has the highest success rate.

Foot Tip:

Never share shoes or socks. Early detection and medical treatment are crucial. Warts are persistent, making them resistant to treatment once they have established their home in your skin.

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