Life is full of all kinds of strange and wondrous things.
On a visit to my doctor, I discovered the hard callous on my heal was actually a plantar wart! You get them when a virus enters your body through broken skin. A plantar wart is a rough, spongy surface and it can only be found on the soles of your feet. Clustered plantar warts are called mosaic warts. Some people mistakenly think plantar warts are malignant, in fact they are not harmful but can cause irritation or minor pain, depending on their location. A person's risk of getting a wart varies and those with a weakened immune system are more susceptible.
I learned warts grow in the epidermis, the upper skin layer. A typical wart has a raised, rough surface. I know warts are generally harmless and do disappear over time, but for me they're unsightly. I have one on the sole of my foot, and it makes walking and exercise even more painful, plus I find it extra challenging with a bad knee!
Getting rid of warts can also be a challenge, but fortunately, the most effective treatments are the least invasive. Upon closer inspection, the center of my wart had dark flecks, looking like seeds. I discovered these are capillaries that supply the wart with blood. Since I cannot even bring up my knee to see this wart, my husband has been caring for them diligently.
Warts occur when skin cells grow faster than normal, because they are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). I read, all of us can come into contact with HPV repeatedly, when we shake hands, touch a doorknob, as it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, on surfaces in places like a locker room, or shower floors, but only few develop warts. Yet, approximately 70% of the population has this virus, and science can't explain why.
There are many folk remedies for treating warts, and there is no single treatment that works every single time. I will mention the top three.
1) Applying a topical solution of salicylic acid. They suggest soaking your foot/feet for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day, then filing away the dead warty skin with a pumice stone, and applying the salicylic acid ointment, lotion or gel. This is the main ingredient in aspirin and this will cause the wart to gradually peel off, if this treatment is continued for approximately 12 weeks.
2) The second option is freezing, also called cryotherapy. A clinician swabs or sprays liquid nitrogen onto the wart and around the surrounding area. The extreme cold, will burn the skin, causing pain, redness, and usually leaves a blister. Getting rid of a wart(s) with this method usually takes three or four treatments, one every two to three weeks.
3) Duct Tape! This is the option we are presently using, since my husband is such a handy man, and we have dozens of rolls, rolling around. This is low risk, and a low tech approach I could appreciate, and besides what harm will it do until my specialist appointment!? Not that I am a coward, well perhaps just a little, and besides, results showed duct tape is about 45% more effective than cryotherapy.
Martin put duct tape over the surrounding wart area and changed it every three days after a soak, always sterilizing the tools (tweezers etc.). After the dark specks appeared, which look like seeds, he removed patches of dead skin, as he debrided the area he applied polysporin into the large craters which had developed, then he reapplied new duct tape. We have been following this regimen for almost two weeks and there is such a marked improvement, as new skin growth has appeared over the craters. They are almost completely gone after just 20 days of treatment. Why duct tape works isn't clear, perhaps it may deprive the wart of oxygen, or perhaps dead skin and viral particles are being removed along with the tape?
Plantar wart prevention: Wash your hands, wear shower shoes whenever using a public pool, wash your feet thoroughly with a disinfectant soap, keep hands and feet dry to prevent present warts from spreading. Don't touch someone else's wart and don't pick at your own! When getting a pedicure make sure your pedicurist doesn't share her tools with other people before cleaning. (I had a pedicure where she used a knife and made my foot bleed so bad. I wonder if this is how and where my wart developed?). And always consult your family doctor or dermatologist as some skin cancers resemble warts at first. Be suspicious of any wart that bleeds or grows quickly.