How did I get this wart?

August 31, 2012
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Summer time is slowly coming to an end, a time of year that many kids spend endless hours at the pool.  It is normal to get a few bumps and scratches along the way, especially on the toes and feet.  Breaks in the skin allow potential viruses to get into the skin and grow.  One of the most common viruses found in this environment is the virus that causes plantar warts.

Verrucae, commonly known as warts, are the result of an infection of a virus, which is part of a family of viruses called the human papilloma virus or HPV.   If that sounds familiar to you, it is because this family of viruses is responsible for cervical cancer and gential warts.  Thankfully, when concerning the manifestation of warts on the feet, they are benign and will disappear on their own without any treatment in a couple of years.  The virus is confined to the thick skin on the soles of the feet, which while it keeps the virus from spreading, it allows the virus to hide from the immune system.  This allows the virus to grow and seed on the plantar skin.

How can we tell a wart from a simple callus or IPK?  When shaved with a small blade, a wart will have small distinct pores that will bleed, a phenomenon termed “pin point bleeding.”  In addition, the skin lines on the soles of the feet will be interrupted by the growth of the wart.  Another way to correctly diagnose a wart will be to squeeze the wart between your fingers.  This will induce exquisite pain, more so than if direct pressure is applied to the surface of the wart.

As you probably know, this is a very common problem among children and young adults.  As such, there is no end to the many treatments that have been attempted, some more successful than others.  We’ll discuss the possible treatments in the upcoming posts.

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