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Got a wart? What not to do

A common misconception is that warts have roots that can reach into the bone if not treated. This is simply a rumor: warts only grow on the skin, and in most cases they are not harmful. Here’s what you should – and shouldn’t – do if you end up with one of these annoying growths:

  • Don’t try unapproved treatments. Many so-called natural treatments like vitamins and plant remedies exist online, but they haven’t been shown to work on warts.
  • Do use some non-invasive remedies like topical acid wart removers from the drugstore. If the wart is bothering you, these treatments are considered safe for most people. Be aware that they don’t work for everyone and may take several applications before you see results. Note: If you have diabetes, neuropathy, or any circulatory disorder, don’t try these remedies. See your podiatrist instead.
  • Don’t tough it out if it hurts. Anything that’s interfering with your daily life shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re having trouble walking or have ongoing pain and discomfort, see a podiatrist.
  • Do be careful about spreading it to others. Warts are caused by a virus and are contagious. To help prevent others from getting them (and to keep you from getting another one!) wear shoes or flip flops in public showers and swimming areas. Don’t share towels with others, and keep your shower and bathroom floor clean. Wash your hands frequently, and cover cuts and sores on your feet with a clean bandage.
  • Don’t set yourself up for more warts. Aside from wearing shoes and cleaning the bath, you can prevent warts by keeping your feet dry. Warts prefer a warm, moist environment, so change wet socks and shoes as soon as possible and use foot powder if you need extra protection.
  • Do take care of your whole body to fight them off. Your immune system can take care of most warts on its own – so keep it in top shape by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. This may also help prevent future warts from cropping up.

In some cases, a wart may need to be removed surgically. A podiatrist can talk with you about options for removing it and together, you can decide what will be best for you. If you have a growth on your foot and you’re not sure what it is, play it safe and see your podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Although warts are harmless, serious problems such as skin cancer could be mistaken for a wart. If you’re not sure, don’t risk it.

If you have foot pain, a wart, or another foot problem, explore our foot disorder library to learn about common conditions that could be causing you pain. Or call Kansas City Foot Specialists to schedule an evaluation at (913) 338-4440, or request an appointment online so we can work with you to keep your feet healthy.