Warts are caused by infection in the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) with a virus called the ‘human papilloma virus’. The virus enters the skin through tiny breaks in the skin surface and causes the skin to over-grow and thicken, leading to a benign (non-cancerous) skin growth (the wart). There is nothing more humbling for a dermatologist than warts and plantar warts most of all! Plantar warts are warts on the sole of the foot and are caused by contact with the wart virus on infected skin scales – for example from the floors of public bathrooms, shower cubicles and the areas around swimming pools. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell a plantar wart from a corn. Your dermatologist at Atlantic Dermatology and Laser may need to scrape down the area to find the black dots that confirm the diagnosis of a viral wart. These little black dots are the blood supply which the wart virus creates to feed its growth.
Most warts will clear with time and can be left untreated if not causing problems. Warts can be very stubborn and if the decision is made to treat them, this often requires multiple treatments. Our dermatology team will spend the time to discuss all the treatment options with you and develop a treatment plan based on the level of discomfort you are willing to tolerate, how aggressively you wish to treat your warts and how to care for them between treatments. Warts are far from life threatening and are usually asymptomatic but we understand the embarrassment that they can cause. They are as much of a nuisance to us as they are to you and we will work together to eradicate them – “Warts be gone!”