Keep Plantar Warts Away (or Stop Them from Spreading!)
Nobody wants plantar warts. We think that’s pretty much a given.
At best, these viral growths are unsightly and embarrassing. At worst, they can actually cause you physical discomfort—or even outright pain—if they happen to be located in just the right spot where friction and pressure combine to irritate neighboring tissue.
And, frustratingly, they seem to take forever to go away on their own. Without treatment it could be months or even a year or two—plenty of time for that wart to spread to other parts of the feet or hands, or in some cases even other people.
Even with treatment, it could take a couple of sessions and a few weeks to fully eradicate the growth.
So it goes without saying that prevention is the best strategy when it comes to warts on feet. Although we can’t guarantee 100% effectiveness, the following tips should help you decrease your risk.
How to Avoid Getting Warts in the First Place
Warts are skin infections caused by several different forms of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Not all types of HPV cause warts, and different people with different immune systems may respond differently to the virus.
But to keep this in simplified terms, in order to cause an infection, basically two conditions need to be met:
- Exposure to a warts-causing virus
- A way in (cuts, breaks in skin, etc.)
Prevention, then, is centered around limiting your risk of exposure and keeping your skin healthy. The virus tends to flourish in environments that are warm and moist, and can spread through both direct and indirect contact.
To reduce your risk of getting warts in the first place:
- Wash your feet every day, using warm water and gentle soaps.
- Use moisturizing creams or lotions as necessary to avoid dry, flaky, or cracking skin. Treat any cuts or injuries to the feet promptly.
- Avoid wearing wet shoes and socks. Swap them at least daily, or even more frequently if they start feeling damp. Give shoes a full 24 hours to dry after wearing them for a day, or whenever they get damp.
- Don’t go barefoot in public, particularly in areas that are humid (pool decks, locker rooms, etc.). You should always have at least a thin layer of protection for your feet, such as flip flops or shower shoes.
- Don’t share clothes, unwashed towels, or nail and skin care tools with anyone else.
How to Avoid Spreading Warts (if You Already Have Them)
Despite your best efforts, you may end up with a wart or two on your feet anyway. This is especially common in children and older adults (who tend to have less robust immune systems), but can happen to anyone.
Although you may be disappointed, this is no time to give up! If you already have one or more warts on your feet, you should be even more vigilant in order to keep the warts from multiplying or spreading to other areas of your skin (or members of your family, for that matter).
The most important thing you can do, of course, is get your warts treated at our office. Don’t waste your time with over-the-counter kits or home remedies, as success rates for these methods are extremely low and will just give your warts more time to spread.
We have a couple of different wart removal options, including freezing, peeling medications, or surgical excision. Each treatment has some trade-offs in terms of how invasive they are versus how effective they are (as in, how many follow-up sessions will likely be necessary); we’ll be sure to go over all the pros and cons with you so you can make the best choice for your situation.
In addition, to keep warts from spreading in the meantime:
- Continue practicing all your normal wart prevention techniques listed in the first section above. They will still help keep your problem from worsening.
- Don’t pick at your warts. In fact, try to avoid any direct contact whatsoever. If you must touch them, wash your hands immediately afterward.
- Wash socks, towels, and other items that touch your feet after a single use.
- If you use a pumice stone or similar tool for your skin, do not use the same tool for your wart as you do for your healthy skin.
- Disinfect foot and skin care tools after using them, and do not let others use them.
By following all of these tips, we hope you will be able to keep your feet free from warts—or, if you do get one or two, you can deal with them swiftly and keep them from multiplying or spreading!
If you do already have any pesky foot warts you need help dealing with, please give Comprehensive Foot Centers a call today at (816) 455-1155. We’ll be happy to help at any of our six convenient office locations in Missouri or Kansas.