What are foot warts?

Foot warts, also called verrucae plantaris (verruca plantaris), arise when the skin under one or both soles of the feet will thicken and harden. Foot warts are fleshy, rough, granular bulges. Deviant tissue such as a foot wart is also called a lesion. Foot warts often develop on the ball or heel of the foot. A wart is a benign tumor.

Over the wart grows calluses and the wart is deep in the skin by the pressure of walking on the foot. Foot warts are flatter by the body weight than ‘normal’ warts on other parts of your body (for example on your hands, torso or knees). They often look more like a mini cauliflower.

Sometimes you see one or more black seeds in the middle of the foot warts. These are miniscule blood vessels. Foot warts can look very different. Sometimes it is a single wart and sometimes there are clusters of warts (mosaic warts).

Foot warts are not harmful to your health (unless they start to kindle) but can hurt a lot during walking. You can therefore change your body posture and that in turn causes pain in muscles and joints.

Are foot warts contagious?

Foot warts are contagious. They are caused by a virus, also called a viral infection. This virus is a specific virus within the human papillomavirus (HPV) . Not everyone is susceptible to this virus. The virus comes through small incisions and abrasions in the skin or when your feet are weak because you have been lying in the water for a long time.

After you have contracted the virus, it can sometimes take days or months before the foot warts appear. This is called the incubation period and this is the period in which the risk of infection is greatest for another person. So you can infect others without knowing that you are carrying the virus and without having your own foot warts.

The areas where contamination occurs in most cases are humid and warm. For example a sauna, swimming pool or the bathroom in your own home. But also a gym or a changing room. When you walk around here in bare feet and someone has foot warts, you can also walk them up.

Especially children often suffer from foot warts because they generally walk more often on their bare feet in rooms where many others walk on their bare feet. 1 in 10 children between 5 and 16 years old suffer from foot warts. But also among adults who practice swimming, yoga or oriental martial arts, a foot warts epidemic can easily break out; though most people are immune to the virus by the time they are grown up.

Do foot warts disappear naturally?

Yes; after a while, most foot warts disappear naturally. The body makes antibodies that attack the virus that causes the foot warts. However, it can take up to 2 years for the HPV virus to come out of your body and most people do not want to wait for that. Because foot warts are contagious, can cause pain when walking and do not look too attractive, most people want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

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