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Summer 2014 Newsletter

   
 

Warts (Verruca)

Warts are very common soft tissue condition of the foot that can be quite painful. They are caused by a virus, which generally invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. They can appear anywhere on the skin, but technically only those on the sole are properly called plantar warts. Children and teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults; some people seem to be immune.

warts Identification Problems
  • Most warts are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses-which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. The wart, however, is a viral infection.
  • It is also possible for a variety of more serious lesions to appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as carcinomas and melanomas. Although rare, these conditions can sometimes be misidentified as a wart.
  • It is wise to consult a podiatric physician when any suspicious growth or eruption is detected on the skin of the foot in order to ensure a correct diagnosis.

Treatment
Self treatment is generally not advisable. Over-the-counter preparations contain acids or chemicals that destroy skin cells, and it takes an expert to destroy abnormal skin cells (warts) without also destroying surrounding healthy tissue. Self treatment with such medications especially should be avoided by people with diabetes and those with cardiovascular or circulatory disorders. Never use them in the presence of an active infection.

It is possible that your podiatric physician will prescribe and supervise your use of a wart-removal preparation. More likely, however, removal of warts by a simple surgical procedure, performed under local anesthetic, may be indicated. Lasers have become a common and effective treatment. A procedure known as CO2 laser cautery is performed under local anesthesia either in your podiatrist's office surgical setting or an outpatient surgery facility. The laser reduces post-treatment scarring and is a safe form for eliminating wart lesions.

more information and photographs

(content courtesy of APMA)