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So, you notice several irregularly shaped thick, rough patches on the soles of your feet that have been growing in size and number. You tried over-the-counter “wart removers”, picking at them, ignoring them, applying duct tape to them and they still don’t go away. Now, they are starting to hurt and get ugly. What can be done and what are these growths?

Warts, also called verrucae, are skin lesions of irregular shape and texture caused by a human papilloma virus. They are contagious, not only to the individual that has them, spreading from foot to foot, hand to hand, but also to other people. Plantar warts are named after the sole, or plantar aspect, of the foot. Because the skin on the soles of the feet is the thickest skin on the body, these warts tend to take the longest to eradicate.

The most common way of contracting warts is by stepping on a moist surface where someone with warts walked before you did. This can occur at a gym locker room, swimming pool or bathroom floor.

The longer one ignores warts, the thicker and larger they become, making treatment more time-consuming and challenging.

Treatment for warts can vary by location and number. In my office, I apply Liquid Nitrogen, a form of cryosurgery to freeze off the outer layers of the wart with each treatment until the wart is eradicated. Some people respond to treatment within a few visits, for others, treatment can be longer, especially if the warts have been present for years. But, be patient. Success will be yours with persistence. And, once the wart is gone, it can’t be spread to another area of your body or that of your friend.

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