Our Harrisburg Foot Doctor Discusses How to Prevent Plantar Warts

November 19, 2019

All warts have the same cause, regardless of where they appear: A strand of human papillomavirus, or HPV, entering the body through a cut or other opening. If you have had plantar warts before, and aren’t keen on getting one again, here are some steps you can avoid HPV and prevent foot warts (and all warts.) 

What is HPV?

There are about 100 different strains of the human papillomavirus virus we currently know of, all varying in symptoms and severity. Some strains never manifest any symptoms, and can be carried for years, undiscovered, before vanishing on their own. Some strains are much more harmful, and can cause serious issues like cervical cancer. 

About 40 strains of HPV, those which are sexually transmitted, can cause genital warts and cancer. The other 60 known HPV strains are not sexually transmitted, and will only cause warts on the hands and feet. 

If you have a wart on your foot, you are probably, very understandably, not too happy about it—but look on the bright side! Out of all the HPV strains you could have contracted, you contracted one of generally harmless ones. 

How to Avoid Getting Plantar Warts    

Like other viral infections, plantar warts are contagious, and thrive in dark, moist environments. Plantar wart-causing HPV strains are commonly spread in public pools, communal showers, and shared showers at home. Epidemics of plantar warts sometimes break out among people who share gym or athletic facilities, or who engage in group activities where bare feet are the rule, such as yoga and martial arts.

Because most people build immunity to viruses with age, plantar warts are more common in children than in adults. They also are common in people who have weak immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS and taking corticosteroid or immuno-suppressive medication.

To avoid getting warts on your feet, follow these key tips:

  • Never walk barefoot at a public pool, shower, or locker room. Always wear shower shoes or flip-flops.
  • Since warts thrive in moisture, keep your hands and feet as dry as possible, and always wear clean socks.
  • When you get a pedicure, make sure the tools and tubs are clean and disinfected between clients.
  • Never use an emery board, pumice stone or nail clipper that may have been used on an infected person. Don’t use a tool that you used when you had a previous wart.
  • Ask your doctor about receiving the HPV vaccine, which may help prevent warts, though more research is needed to confirm this.

If you have a wart on your foot, the best way to get rid of it is having it professionally treated at a podiatrist’s office. To see a foot doctor in Ballantyne NC, request an appointment with us today.