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Family Foot & Ankle

Risk Factors for Plantar Warts

It probably isn’t going out too far on a limb to guess that you would prefer not to have any warts. Now, the first step in avoiding any skin or toenail condition is understanding why and how it develops. This isn’t any different when it comes to preventing a wart, so let’s look at the various risk factors for plantar warts.

Lower Your Risk for Plantar WartsNow, there are many misconceptions when it comes to how a wart develops. To start, we need to debunk a common myth right away – warts are not caused by frogs, toads, or any other amphibians. The popular myth likely stems from the fact certain toads have bumps that look quite similar to the warts us humans can grow. You can, if you are so inclined, handle a toad with your bare hands and have no need to worry about warts growing as a result.

This begs the question – if they don’t come from toads or frogs, where do warts actually come from?

Put simply, plantar warts are caused by a virus. More accurately, they are caused by a few different strains of a common virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV). Interestingly, not every person responds to those particular strains in the same manner. This means a strain that results in warts in one person might not do the same for someone else, even a family member.

We usually take this for granted, but our skin does a remarkable job of protecting us from the external environment (which is full of microorganisms). With that being said, it’s not an infallible system. It only takes a minor cut, scrape, or abrasion and then there’s an entrance for one of these tiny organisms to enter your body. Once HPV does, you will eventually notice one of the unsightly growths.

Taking that into consideration, an obvious risk factor for plantar warts is to have any kind of skin damage for the virus to enter. Of course, that’s not the end of the story.

Technically, anyone can end up with a case of plantar warts, but those who have a higher risk factor include:

  • Children and teenagers

  • Individuals who have weakened immune systems

  • Individuals who have had plantar warts before

  • Individuals who walk barefoot where exposure to a wart-causing virus is common

The virus—much like other microorganisms (bacteria, fungus)—is often found in warm, damp environments where it thrives. This means HPV is commonly found in areas like gym locker rooms, communal showering areas, and indoor pool decks. The good news is that you can lower your risk factor for developing a plantar wart by wearing clean sandals or shower shoes in these places.

Just about everyone develops a wart at some point in life, so it’s tricky to completely prevent this from happening. In the event you already have one on your foot, or you get a plantar wart in the future, the best course of action is to come see us for safe, professional removal.

No matter if you’re a new or returning patient, our team at Family Foot & Ankle Center looks forward to helping you overcome any lower limb issue you’re facing. Wart removal is just one of the many services we are proud to provide for all of our patients, so contact us today! Simply take advantage of our online form to connect with us, or call (513) 728-4800 to request an appointment with any of our greater Cincinnati locations.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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