Plantar warts are small, rough growths that develop on the soles of the feet, typically on the heels and under the toes. They result from the human papillomavirus (HPV) entering the skin through small cuts or scrapes. Although anyone can develop these foot warts, they are more common in children, teenagers, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Plantar warts in children

5 Ways to Help Reduce the Risk of Plantar Warts

Statistics show that 10 – 20% of children and teens have plantar warts. These painful growths may change the way you run, walk, or stand, and over time, you may change your natural posture to avoid the pain, causing stress on the joints, tissues, or muscles in your feet and ankles.

Prevention is the most effective approach when it comes to avoiding foot warts. While our Idaho podiatrists can't guarantee complete effectiveness, the following tips can help minimize your child’s risk:

1. Don’t Let Your Child Walk Around Barefoot

To avoid spreading the virus responsible for plantar warts, you need to take precautions, particularly in public places. Make sure to wear suitable footwear whenever you're outdoors. Additionally, it's crucial to make sure your child wears slippers or sandals in warm and damp environments such as a pool or locker room. By doing this, you minimize the likelihood of the HPV virus entering the skin and causing a skin infection.

2. Don’t Let Your Child Share Items They Use on Their Feet

Since plantar warts are contagious, it is important to remind your child not to share any of the items that they use on their feet, including:

  • Towels
  • Socks
  • Shoes and sandals
  • Nail clippers and pumice stones 

3. Keep Their Feet Clean and Dry

Maintaining good foot hygiene plays a significant role in lowering the risk of plantar warts. Ensure that your child washes their feet regularly using disinfecting soap and thoroughly dries them afterward. If they wear socks, they should change them throughout the day to prevent the accumulation of sweat and oils that can contribute to fungal infections.

Leaving your feet damp for prolonged periods increases the likelihood of developing foot issues such as blisters and abrasions. Such conditions create opportunities for viruses to enter your child’s feet more easily, putting them at a higher risk of developing plantar warts.

4. Don’t Touch or Pick at Plantar Warts

It is important to remind your child to avoid touching or picking at plantar warts with their bare hands. Not only can this potentially spread the warts to other parts of their body, but it can also put others at risk of developing plantar warts. If they need to handle plantar warts, be sure to have them wash their hands thoroughly with soap both before and after coming into contact with them.

5. Keep the Plantar Warts Covered

To minimize the risk of existing warts spreading or multiplying, you should cover them with a clean, non-medicated bandage or athletic tape. By doing so, it becomes more difficult for the warts to spread to other areas through contact with hands, socks, or shoes.

As an added benefit, taping the wart can provide a cushioning effect, reducing any discomfort that may arise from standing on the wart.

Let an Idaho Podiatrist Treat Your Child’s Plantar Warts

While plantar warts may not be the most severe foot problem, they should not be underestimated. It’s important to seek prompt treatment for plantar warts because the longer you have them, the more time they have to spread. Removing a plantar wart early is not only a proactive measure but also a preventive care approach. An experienced podiatrist at Canyon Foot + Ankle can help get rid of plantar warts by using different treatments.

Treatments Magic Valley Podiatrists May Use to Treat Plantar Warts

  • Freezing. A podiatrist applies extreme cold to freeze and destroy the plantar wart. To create the severe cold, they typically use liquid nitrogen.
  • Laser treatment. During this treatment, your podiatrist uses laser light to heat and eliminate the tiny blood vessels within your plantar wart. By doing so, the treatment disrupts the blood supply, effectively eliminating the plantar wart.
  • Topical creams (prescription only). Your podiatrist may recommend using an anti-wart medicine containing salicylic acid to aid in the gradual removal of the layers of the wart. This treatment not only helps to eliminate the wart but also stimulates your immune system to actively combat it. Typically, this treatment can be performed at home, but it may require periodic visits to your podiatrist to monitor the progress of the wart. 
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