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This Is the Virus that Causes Warts

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This Is the Virus that Causes Warts

Though there are over 100 different types, human papillomavirus (HPV) strains cause primarily two types of problems: warts and sexually transmitted infections, some of which may start cancerous changes. As regards your feet, though, your only concern is plantar warts. These can cause tenderness or pain in some cases, but that’s as serious as plantar warts get. 

Entering the body through cracks or cuts in the skin of your feet, HPV starts a simple infection that your immune system usually handles easily, but like other viruses, HPV remains in your body. It’s typically after your immune system controls the virus that warts form. 

Plantar warts can be a nuisance, contributing to calluses on your feet, and they can become painful, making it difficult to stand or walk. When home care isn’t enough to ease your discomfort, visit us at Hudson Valley Foot Associates. We’re plantar wart specialists, with a range of treatment options suitable for your condition. 

HPV infections

Where you get warts on your body depends on the strain of HPV you’ve contracted. Plantar warts start from an infection in the outer layers of skin. This is usually on the soles of your feet, the plantar region, though in rare cases your ankles may be ground zero. 

The viruses that cause plantar warts aren’t particularly contagious, so it’s not easy to pass between people by direct contact. However, the virus loves warm, wet places, so it can thrive in locker rooms and showers, and around swimming pools. Walking barefoot on these surfaces puts you at risk. 

Simply having an HPV virus doesn’t mean you’ll get warts. Individual response to HPV varies widely. If your warts cause no complications, you won’t need treatment. Your warts may last a few years before disappearing, though.

Plantar wart complications

Because of their location on the bottom of your feet, plantar warts are subject to pressure from the weight of your body. Unfortunately, pressure is another condition that HPV loves, so between that pressure and the typically moist conditions inside shoes and socks, the virus can spread around your feet, feeding new warts. 

A plantar wart appears as a rough, grainy growth that usually starts at the base of your toes, on the ball of your foot, or on the heel. A wart that grows inward may have a layer of callused skin covering it. Wart seeds are common, tiny black specks caused by damaged blood vessels. Plantar warts can also grow in clusters.

Though they don’t always hurt, plantar warts can cause enough discomfort that you alter your normal gait. You may not be aware of this complication, but it can lead to posture problems and uneven loads on joints like the knees and hips. 

So, while warts stemming from HPV aren’t a serious health issue on their own, they can cause secondary problems with bigger impact on your life. Visit any of the five locations of Hudson Valley Foot Associates by calling the nearest office directly or through the appointment request tool online. We’ve got a solution for your warts, so book your visit today.