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The Ins and Outs of Warts


By Columnist Andrea Castello – Biomechanical, Sports and Paediatric Podiatrist:


Photo Credit: Jenny Lee Silver 2006 – Plantar Wart:


Rainy and windy days, short days and long nights, heaters and red wine, this is winter to me.  As a podiatrist though, winter also signals the onslaught of wart cases into the clinic.  Whether it is a child who is doing swimming lessons at indoor locations or gym junkies taking their training indoors because of the cold weather, winter seems to be the season of warts.

How are Warts Caused?

Warts, otherwise known as verrucae, are due to a viral infection.  The virus in question is the human papillomavirus (HPV-1), and this infection causes lesions to form on the skin and quite commonly on the skin.

Warts are most common in children but can present at any age, especially for people with finer skin that is more easily damaged and those that are run down or immunosuppressed (think pregnant women or emotionally stressed individuals).

How Do You Get Warts?

Warts spread in public areas such as swimming pools, change rooms and public bathrooms. They are usually spread by scratching them or being in direct contact with other people who have warts.

Some warts go away on their own without treatment but quite often, without medical care, they can increase in size and depth and can multiply and spread. They can also become painful if left untreated. Generally speaking, the longer warts are left untreated, the more stubborn they can be to remove.  One rule I’ve heard about over my time about how long it takes to resolve a wart is “take the time you have had the wart and double it.”

Where are Warts Found?

Warts are found on the soles of the feet. They are usually small hard bumps that can have black dots in them. Often warts are misdiagnosed as corns (and vice versa) and therefore should be properly diagnosed by a medical professional. Some simple differences between warts and corns include:

  • Warts are painful to squeeze, and corns are painful to apply direct pressure to
  • Warts often have small black dots in the centre of them
  • A wart can be found anywhere on the foot, and corns occur only in pressure areas or over bony prominences

In many instances, the papillomavirus lays dormant in the body without any sign of a wart. In this way, it behaves similarly to the herpes virus (think a cold sore). Warts are infectious, however for infection to occur in someone who doesn’t have the virus there generally needs to be a break in the skin to facilitate entry.

How are Warts Treated?

In our clinic, we have several different treatment options that we use to remove warts, many of which do not cause any discomfort.

These treatment options may include:

  • Natural therapies such as Thuja,
  • Cryotherapy or freezing such as Histofreezer or Liquid Nitrogen,
  • Chemical or acid based treatments like salicylic acid and silver nitrate.

Other options include cautery or burning and surgical removal.

As with all health issues, if unsure, consultation with a podiatrist or medical professional will enable you to decide whether the wart requires treatment and what the most appropriate option is for you.

About Our Podiatry News and Review Columnist

AC Podiatry (19 of 20)Andrea Castello graduated from the University of South Australia in 1999 and has worked in the public and private sectors in both the country and the city. After completing a Masters Degree in Health Services Management in 2006, Andrea decided it was time to put his education to work and start his own practice, which culminated in the inception of AC Podiatry in late 2007. Since then it has grown to include 8 clinics employing 11 podiatrists.

As a podiatrist, Andrea has spent much of his professional career refining his skills with particular attention given to biomechanical, sports and paediatric podiatry. In addition to standard podiatric skills, Andrea has also completed numerous workshops in Dry Needling and Mobilisation. He is a member of Sports Medicine Australia, the Australasian Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, a Mentor to final year students and new graduates, and is currently the podiatrist for the Central District Football Club in the South Australian National Football League.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


2 thoughts on “The Ins and Outs of Warts”

  1. My relatives always say that I am killing my time here. However, I know I am getting knowledge all the time by reading such fastidious articles. This one’s a cracker by the way,

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