By Dr. Kim L. Dao

You may have experienced a lesion to the foot and have wondered whether it was a callus, or worse, a wart! Where did it come from? Contrary to popular belief and legend, warts do not come from contact to frogs.

Warts are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They are contagious and can spread through direct contact. Warts have their own blood supply, which cause tiny black dots within the lesion. These represent the oxidized ends of tiny blood vessels, and will typically bleed from shaving down the wart, which your podiatrist will do as part of treatment as discussed below.

Warts tend to form on the bottom of the feet, causing pain with pressure and walking. As they are easily transmitted, the best ways to avoid developing warts on your feet is to wear shoes in all public places, especially around public pools, gyms, and showers. As with most lesions, you should not pick at the wart, which can also cause it to spread to other parts of the body. Changing shoes and keeping feet clean and dry will also reduce the risk of developing or worsening warts.

Treatments can include:

  • Acid therapy: In acid therapy, high pH acid is applied to cause the lesion to peel off gradually.
  • Cryotherapy: In cryotherapy, cold liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the warty lesion, causing the dead layers to be removed with acid. Then, the physician will shave away the hard skin that surrounds the wart.
  • Surgery: If conservative treatment fails, the next option is surgical removal of the wart. Recovery varies depending on the location of the removed wart, but with its usual location being on the bottom of the feet, recovery will likely require being off your feet for at least 3 – 4 weeks while the surgical site heals.

If you suspect you have a wart on your foot, come see one of our podiatrists at Southwest Austin Foot and Ankle Clinic for an evaluation and diagnosis. We will work together to develop a treatment plan that works for you!