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Plantar warts refer to warts along the bottom of the feet.  While warts generally do not present a dangerous situation, they can be both painful and unsightly.  The development of a wart is a result of a break in the skin allowing a virus to enter the area.  Because viruses are microscopic, the opening in the skin could be from the slightest scratch or from a puncture wound such as a splinter.  Plantar warts are most commonly found in children and young adults.  However, we have seen plenty of senior citizens with them as well.

So how do we treat them?  There are many treatment options.  The two most common involve either topical acid treatments or surgical excision.  We explain to the patient that the wart is like an onion with many layers.  We can destroy the outer layers with acid treatments and periodic shaving of the dead skin in our office, eventually resulting in us reaching good healthy skin.  The advantage of this treatment plan is that it's very non-disturbing to the patient and allows them to continue with their lifestyle uninterrupted.  The  disadvantage is that it can sometimes take quite a while to resolve.  Treatments can go on for weeks and even months.  Surgical excision involves an injection to numb the area and actually cutting out the warty tissue.  The advantage of this treatment is that may be a quicker resolution of the problem.  However, there is also pain and discomfort associated with the healing process.  This can last for a couple of weeks as the wound created heals.  It should also be noted that there is a high reoccurrence rate, meaning that soon after the patient heals, the wart often returns.

It is my best advice to avoid barefoot walking when outside when possible.  Sandals or pool shoes can protect the feet and lower the risks involved.  If a wart is detected, seek early treatment with a podiatrist or dermatologist.