Summer is fast approaching and the switch from wearing closed toe shoes to sandals allows our feet to go on display. Having happy and healthy feet is very important for enjoying the summer season to the fullest. Particularly, if you will be participating in a lot of swimming, water sports or outdoor activities, your feet may need a little extra attention. Aside from keeping your feet well moisturized to avoid cracking of the heels, prevention against developing plantar warts is also very essential.
Verruca pedis or plantar warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that infects the outer layer of the skin on the bottom of your feet. The wart usually appears as a rough and scaly area of growth in the skin with tiny dark spots. The wart can become painful when irritated with physical activity. Excessive pressure to the skin on the feet can cause callus to form and cover the plantar wart. Therefore, often times a plantar wart can be easily mistaken to be a painful callus or corn.
HPV can infect the skin through a small cut or crack on the bottom of your feet. The virus can stay alive on warm and wet surfaces such as at the swimming pool, changing room and in the shower stall or bathtub. You can be at a higher risk for developing warts, if you tend to walk barefoot, have extremely sweaty feet or have cracks in the feet where the virus can easily infect your skin. Depending on your immune system, some incidents of plantar warts can spontaneously resolve. However, painful or persistent warts need treatment in order to prevent the spread of warts to other areas of your skin or to family members.
Depending on your health and severity of the warts, over the counter treatments or home remedies may not be effective enough in treating the warts and can instead lead to complications. Medical attention or seeing a Chiropodist is needed if the plantar wart is painful and disrupting your daily life.
Treatment options for plantar warts can involve:
- Topical medication: Applying medication to remove the wart
- Cryotherapy: Freezing to destroy the wart
- Laser surgery: Laser to eradicate the wart
Maintaining good foot hygiene is important for prevention against plantar warts. Below are some tips to help keep your feet healthy.
- Always wear dry and clean socks and shoes
- Change your socks daily and regularly clean the insides of your shoes
- Avoid sharing socks, shoes or towels
- Fully dry your feet after showering or bathing
- Avoid walking barefoot. Wear appropriate footwear when going to swimming pools, public showers or changing rooms. Wear house shoes or slippers at home.
- Regularly clean your shower or bathtub at home