When it comes to warts, they typically don’t cause life-threatening complications, and many even go away on their own. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore every wart, especially if you have a disorder that compromises your foot health, such as diabetes.
Hai-En Peng, DPM, FACFAS, removes warts at both of his Align Foot & Ankle Center locations in Camarillo and Santa Barbara, California. And you can rest easy, because treating warts usually involves prescription-strength topicals, freezing, or laser treatment. Less often, Dr. Peng could recommend minor surgery for an especially bothersome wart.
If you have a wart, here are four reasons to consider getting professional treatment.
Warts can appear anywhere on the body, but they’re most common on the fingers or hands. They develop because of a virus — most often the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 150 types of this virus, but most forms get spread through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing items, such as washcloths, shoes, or towels.
It can take warts anywhere from 2-6 months to develop after exposure to the virus. However, once you have a wart, it can easily spread to other areas of your body. Because of that, it’s important to use extreme care when you have a wart and to seek professional attention if it doesn’t go away.
And, if you have several warts, it’s best to schedule an appointment immediately.
When warts develop, they often look like small, grainy growths that feel rough to the touch. In many cases, they also contain tiny black dots — or small, clotted blood vessels — and can vary in size from 1-10 millimeters. They can also appear alone or in clusters.
Unlike other common warts that can affect your feet, the plantar variety forms on the sole. It also grows into your skin instead of out of it. In these cases, they can look like a small hole in your foot surrounded by tough, callused skin.
Because of their location, plantar warts can be incredibly uncomfortable and even feel like there’s a pebble in your shoe, which may make it difficult to engage in any weight-bearing activities.
You may think you know how to spot a wart, but some forms of skin cancer can look very similar to a wart, such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma.
While warts are typically harmless, skin cancer is not. Signs that your skin issue could be a problem include:
If you have a skin issue, we can confirm whether or not it’s a wart and discuss your treatment options.
Finally, if you have diabetes — or another disease that can jeopardize your foot health — don’t ignore any foot issues, even seemingly minor ones like warts.
Conditions like diabetes can interfere with your ability to feel pain and heal. This puts you at serious risk for complications from even small foot issues. Consequently, you should have your wart treated by a professional. Not doing so could increase your chances of developing major health complications, such as a nonhealing wound, an infection, gangrene, or even the need for a foot amputation.
When you see Dr. Peng, he can diagnose your skin issue and discuss your treatment options. He can also check for signs of this common problem as part of regular diabetic foot care visits.
Do you have a wart? Get the help you need by booking an appointment online or over the phone with Align Foot & Ankle Center today.