Foot warts are a very common problem, and to be honest most people who have them can’t wait to be rid of them. The unsightly, uncomfortable nature of the condition is more than enough justification.
However, many others wonder if treatment is truly necessary. If your warts aren’t causing any physical pain or personal discomfort, do you really need to do anything about them?
That’s a decision you’ll have to make on your own. But if you ask our opinion, we’d say the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”
There are many good reasons why it’s not always a great idea to avoid or delay treatment for plantar warts, even if they aren’t currently painful. Here are a few of the major ones.
Plantar Warts Can Multiply (and Spread)
Sure, today you may only have one or two small plantar warts in inconspicuous locations that make them easy to ignore. But in a month or two, it could be a very different story.
If you have plantar warts, it’s already a good sign that your immune system is not great at combating the particular strain of virus that has caused it. The potential for more warts appearing on your foot, or even on other parts of your body, is there.
Warts most frequently spread via direct contact of the virus with the skin. That means if you are touching or picking at your warts, stop immediately! It is possible to spread warts from one part of your body to another this way. If you have to touch your warts, wash your hands immediately before and afterward.
It is also possible for plantar warts to spread across your foot, especially if you happen to get a cut on the bottom of your foot or aggravate your current warts.
Seeking treatment for yourself can also help you protect your loved ones.
Seeking treatment for yourself can also help you protect your loved ones. The spread of warts from person to person is thankfully not as likely, but it’s still possible. The longer you carry your warts around, the higher the likelihood that someone around you might pick them up. We’re guessing they would not appreciate that much!
Plantar Warts Can Take a Very Long Time to Disappear on Their Own
Plantar warts are caused by a viral infection that resides with the upper layers of skin. This allows the warts to remain relatively undisturbed by the immune system, which tends not to “patrol” the upper layers of skin as rigorously as other kinds of tissues.
As a result, while most plantar warts will eventually go away on their own, this process can be very slow. For some people, it may take one or two years for a wart to disappear naturally. Sometimes even longer than that!
Of course, each case is different. But as you’ll recall from the section above, warts have a tendency to multiply and spread as long as they are active. The longer you wait for your wart to go away on its own, the more opportunities they’ll have to do just that.
Plantar Warts Can Become Painful
Plantar warts in high pressure areas, such as beneath your heel or the sole of your foot, are prone to causing pain. Even if they don’t hurt now, a day of excessive walking or running could make a tangible difference.
Persistent pain is more than a simple inconvenience. Whether they realize it or not, most people tend to shift their weight, stances, and walking gait in order to minimize painful or distracting symptoms.
And if you change the way that you walk and move, you will also alter the way forces are distributed across your feet—and usually not for the better. Ultimately, you might start developing additional aches in your heels, knees, or even lower back.
This is just one of the many reasons why you should never simply accept foot pain as a normal part of life.
You May Have Higher Risks
Sometimes, other conditions can make plantar warts more challenging to resolve or riskier to have. The conditions include:
- A weakened immune system. Any condition that results in a reduced immune response increases the odds of warts spreading and lasting on your feet. They might not even disappear on their own at all.
- Diabetes and/or reduced sensation in your feet. Living with diabetes often means reduced sensation in your feet over time due to nerve damage (although other factors may cause this as well). This makes monitoring the health of your feet more difficult, and any abnormality discovered should always be brought to the attention of a podiatrist.
You should also not hesitate to contact us if your warts are especially painful and get in the way of enjoying activities.
Additionally, reach out to us if a suspected wart bleeds or changes in color or shape over time. These are signs that something else might be at play that warrants an examination.
Home Treatments Have a Poor Track Record
Many people, as an alternative to professional care, may seek out “home remedies” for warts. We definitely understand the appeal. In fact, for many other kinds of minor aches and pains, we usually do encourage our patients to use home care strategies as a first resort, and only call us if the situation fails to improve within a reasonable timeframe.
Unfortunately, there is very little scientific evidence to suggest that home treatments have any significant effect on plantar warts. If any of these treatments have “worked” for you or a loved one in the past, it’s more likely simply a coincidence—or in other words, the wart was going to go away on its own anyway.
Never attempt any treatments that involve cutting into your skin, as this will almost certainly do more harm than good (and be painful, too). Most other home treatments for warts are at least fairly harmless—but again, the longer you allow your warts to exist on your skin, the more opportunity they have to spread.
Quick, Effective Care for Plantar Warts and Other Issues
Whenever a problem develops with your feet or ankles, sooner than later is always the optimal choice for addressing it. Whether it’s warts, other skin and nail disorders, heel pain, or fungal toenails, your chances of having a much easier resolution rise the sooner you seek the help you need!
Call Foot Specialists of Long Island at (516) 804-9038 or fill out our online contact form to reach us with any questions or appointment requests you might have. The staff at our Massapequa office will be happy to serve you!