It’s not uncommon for adults to need to see a podiatrist, but you might not expect to need to take a child for a visit. But children often need to visit a podiatrist to deal with a plantar wart, which is not unusual.
Plantar warts are much more common among children than adults. You may need to take your child to the doctor for treatment, but they should resolve without complications. In this blog, the providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain what causes plantar warts and why children are more likely to get them.
What plantar warts are
Plantar warts are usually on the bottom of your feet. Calluses may form around them, which can make walking painful. Sometimes, this can even affect how you or your child walks. You can even develop a cluster of warts called mosaic warts.
However, sometimes, the warts are painless and don’t cause a problem. They may even go away on their own. But if they don’t, a podiatrist can treat them.
What causes plantar warts
Plantar warts are caused by a very common virus. It’s a form of the human papillomavirus (HPV), but it’s not one of the sexually transmitted varieties. Like other viruses, it’s easily contagious and is more likely to spread in wet environments where you don’t wear shoes.
Children are more likely to develop plantar warts than adults because adults develop more resistance to the virus over time. Pediatric care is appropriate for this conditionbecause if you don’t get it treated, it can alter the continued development of your child’s foot and how they walk.
Signs and symptoms of plantar warts
If you suspect that you or your child has a plantar wart, here are some indications:
- Heel pain
- A small, rough growth on the heel of your foot
- Hard, thickened skin over the growth, which may suggest that the wart has grown inward
- Black pinpoints, which are clotted blood vessels
- Pain or tenderness when walking or standing
- The area may become red and inflamed due to an infection
If the growth is bleeding or causes excessive pain, you should definitely consult a doctor.
How plantar warts are treated
When you suspect you have a plantar wart and make an appointment for a consultation with a doctor, here’s what you can expect.
First, you’ll be asked about how long the wart has been present and if you’ve done anything to try to get rid of it (it’s okay if you haven’t).
You may have a topical treatment containing salicylic acid applied to the wart. If this doesn’t work, you may get treatment to freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen, and we may also use electrocautery (which uses an electrical current) or cut out the wart.
Warts may be difficult to treat and may return. Don’t worry, this is normal.
Some people are at greater risk of getting plantar warts than others. This may apply to adults, especially if you have diabetes or if your immune system is otherwise compromised.
You can also do your best to try to avoid getting these warts by wearing sandals in wet areas and keeping your feet clean and dry. In addition, if you have a wart, wash your hands after coming into contact with it to prevent the virus from spreading to other parts of your body.
If you have a plantar wart, the doctors at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine can help. Contact us or request an appointment online.