Have you ever had a hard, somewhat painful, callus-like spot on the bottom of your foot? Chances are, what you were suffering from was a plantar wart - a type of wart that grows inward, rather than outward, due to the pressure exerted on it as you stand on your foot. Plantar warts are very common, but nevertheless, a lot of myths and folklore surround them. What you think you know about plantar warts may not be true!
Plantar Warts Are Not Caused by Frogs
There's an old legend that says you get warts from touching a frog and plantar warts if a frog urinates on your foot. On the surface, this sounds plausible. After all, other animals spread various diseases. Ticks spread Lyme disease, and mosquitoes spread West Nile Virus. But frogs do not spread plantar warts. The warts are caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV is spread from human to human, and frogs do not carry it.
You can get plantar warts from touching someone else who has HPV, or from touching a surface that someone with plantar warts has touched. People often pick up plantar warts from mats and shower floors at the gym or another public area.
Plantar Warts Are Not an STD
HPV has more than 100 strains, and some are transmitted through sexual contact. The strain that causes plantar warts, however, is not sexually transmitted. Thus, plantar warts are not an STD, and their presence does not suggest anything about the sufferer's sexual practices.
Plantar Warts Will Not Lead to Cancer
Because some of the sexually transmitted strains of HPV have been linked to cervical cancer, some people mistakenly believe that plantar warts will also lead to cancer. But this is not the case. Plantar warts are benign, and they don't present much of a threat to your health at all - beyond causing discomfort and irritation.
Plantar Warts Do Not Have a Seed
If you got a plantar wart a few decades ago, your grandparent may have encouraged you to dig around in your foot and make sure you removed the seed - the little black dot in the wart - to ensure you got rid of the wart permanently. However, the black spots in warts are not seeds, but rather clumps of blood vessels that have burst.
Digging out that black spot won't necessarily remove the wart, and you may do more harm than good in the process.
You can treat plantar warts in far safer ways than to pick or dig at them. Try an over-the-counter remedy that contains salicylic, and if that does not work, see your podiatrist. They can freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen or remove it with a laser.
Plantar Warts Don't Spread if You Have Them Treated
The myth that warts will spread if treated is probably related to the old method of digging them out with nail files and other tools. If you use such tools on a wart and then on another part of your foot, you may spread the plantar warts to a new part of your foot. But modern treatments, including salicylic acid pads from the drugstore and nitrogen treatment in the podiatrist's office, won't cause your warts to spread.
There's no reason to go on living with the pain and discomfort of plantar warts. If you ignore them, they may eventually go away on their own. But this can take years, and today's treatments can clear them up in days or weeks.
If you suffer from plantar warts, hopefully the information above has left you feeling less anxious and more confident that your condition is treatable. Contact Instride Family Foot & Ankle Center if you're seeking treatment for plantar warts. We offer surgical and non-surgical options for plantar wart treatment.