Plantar Warts

What is a plantar wart? 

Warts are very common. We see this condition with numerous patients every week in our Chicago office.  Our patients have often had their wart for some time and usually contracted it from a health club, pool area, shower, or locker room.

A wart is a small growth on your hands or feet that looks like a hardened blister. It is caused by a virus, particularly from the family of the human papillomavirus.  This virus is present everywhere, especially on moist surfaces such as in health club showers, locker rooms, and pools. When you step barefooted on the wart virus, it enters your skin through cuts or other vulnerable areas.  If your skin stays moist for a while, it can actually penetrate through your skin.

As the wart grows, it may look like a small callus and usually has little dark specks in it.  They are consistent with little blood vessels that feed your wart.  As the blood vessels bring blood to your wart and feed it, it slowly grows and gets larger. When it is on the bottom of the foot, it is called a plantar wart.


Why should you get treatment?

Because a wart is caused by a virus, it will spread causing more warts to develop. If you don’t treat your wart as soon as possible, other warts can develop around the foot and may infect the other foot. Warts are contagious and other members of your family may also become infected and develop warts, especially if they use the same showers. We encourage people to make sure they use a little anti-virus spray or a little diluted bleach to spray the bathtub to kill any wart virus that might be living there to help prevent the spread of the virus. If you have an untreated wart and are sharing shoes with anyone, they are also at risk of developing a wart.


How do we treat plantar warts?

We find it very effective to use a combination of treatment options and therapy when dealing with warts. We do everything that we can to eliminate your wart and with the least amount of discomfort. Forms of treatment we use may involve laser surgery, burning the wart off, cutting or scooping it out, freezing it, shaving it down, or using acid. We try the most effective treatment for you that will kill the wart.

Many times we encourage our patients to soak their feet in salt water to help dry the wart out. This seems to be effective in addition to the other methods.  We have found, over many years of treating warts, that the most effective and least expensive treatment is to use a combination of drying and burning the wart to completely remove it without using a scalpel.  In this way, you are able to walk the same day and go back to school or work with the least amount of time lost.


How can you prevent getting plantar warts?

One of the most important things to do is to not walk barefooted around areas with moist or damp floors. This would include decks of swimming pools, locker rooms, or showers and changing rooms. The wart virus is alive and well on these moist surfaces that are usually tile or concrete. Make sure you wear something like shower shoes or flip flops to protect the bottoms of your feet. Always thoroughly dry your feet so there is no remaining moisture on them after showering.

You can use sprays in your shoes with an anti-virus component to help kill the possibility of any virus surviving in them. Regularly inspect your feet just in case you have developed a wart so that you can treat it as soon as possible before it becomes resistant and starts to grow. As a wart grows and becomes larger, it develops a thick, callused layer on top that protects it from some forms of medication you may try to use, making it much more difficult to remove.

Our success rate is very high due to the fact that Dr. Alexopoulos is very meticulous when he treats his patients.  Over the years he has found that if you do not remove or treat the whole wart, the little bit left over can actually start growing again and re-infect the foot. He does his best to make sure that treatment prevents warts from reoccurring.

If you have a plantar wart that is affecting your day-to-day activities, get treatment today. You can contact our office by calling (773) 561-8100 or by requesting an appointment online.