Papillomas are a type of wart that grows on your foot. Warts are caused by one of more than 100 types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and are incredibly common, especially among young children. But how do you spot these warts and what can you do about them?
A wart will usually show as a small, raised bump. If you have any raised bumps that match these characteristics, you may have a wart:
- Your wart may be between 1 and 10mm in size.
- It may be on its own or in a cluster of bumps.
- It can have a rough or smooth surface.
- While it may itch, it shouldn't cause any pain.
They are highly contagious, so if you do develop a wart, you may wish to cover it up with a plaster after getting it checked by your podiatrist.
The majority of warts are harmless and go away on their own in time. Upon checking your wart and confirming the diagnosis, your podiatrist may recommend leaving it and seeing what happens.
However, if you have multiple warts or particularly stubborn warts, your podiatrist may recommend any of the following treatments:
- Laser therapy. This burns off the warts but can result in scarring.
- Cryotherapy. This involves freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen and can be a long process of wart removal.
- Specific chemicals. Your podiatrist may refer you to a doctor or dermatologist who may recommend applying lactic or salicylic acid to the affected area. Again, this is a long process and the acids may damage healthy skin, so make sure a qualified health professional applies the chemicals. You may also be able to get some chemical treatments over the counter at your local pharmacy, but do speak to your podiatrist first.
How to avoid papillomas
If you already have papillomas, you will want to stop them spreading. Try to avoid scratching your warts as this will spread the virus onto your nails and fingers and then onto other body parts that you touch. If need be, cover the affected area with a breathable gauze or plaster.
Once you've gotten rid of your papillomas, you will want to make sure they don't come back. To avoid catching the virus again,
- Don't share socks, shoes or towels with anyone, as you don't know who may be carrying the virus.
- Keep your feet dry. Warts love a warm, moist area in which to grow, and most people's feet are the perfect places.
- Try and wear shoes or cover your feet when walking in changing rooms and by swimming pools, as these wet surfaces are the most common place to come into contact with the virus.
While papillomas are generally harmless, they are highly contagious, so if you discover a wart on your foot, see a podiatrist, such as those found at Morrison Podiatry Centre, as soon as possible.