Can a plantar wart be dangerous?

Caused by a contagious virus, warts are small skin growths that can appear in various places, but more commonly on the soles of the feet.

Unpleasant and sometimes painful, plantar warts are nevertheless benign most of the time.

As a matter of fact, it is more the complications linked to plantar warts that are liable to cause problems. 

You are perfectly justified to have concerns about the emergence of a painful plantar wart.

Let’s take a look at how to identify a potentially serious plantar wart and when it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Identify the wart on the foot

This skin problem of the foot generally appears in one of two ways: the single plantar wart (myrmecia) and the mosaic plantar wart (multiple warts).

Myrmecia is the most common form of plantar wart. It is also the most painful when walking. 

It normally has the following characteristics:

  • A fairly deep lesion
  • A horn ring
  • Small black spots are present in its center
  • Episodic bleeding

Mosaic plantar warts are more striking in appearance than myrmecia, but usually cause less discomfort.

They can be recognized by their appearance:

  • Appear on the surface layer of the skin
  • Spread over a larger area
  • Sometimes display more than one wart-like patch

If you have any of these forms of plantar wart, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional, especially if they multiply or grow. 

However, if the pain caused by the wart prevents you from performing your daily activities, you should be seen in a clinic.

Under what conditions can a plantar wart become dangerous?

Generally, if the person is in good health, the wart is harmless and responds well to traditional treatments.

However, in certain cases it may be necessary to have your podiatrist treat your wart. 

The following people are more at risk of experiencing complications from a plantar wart:

  • People with diabetes or neuropathy
  • Older people
  • Those with a compromised immune systems, such as AIDS patients or those undergoing chemotherapy
  • Individuals with a history of infectious complications
  • People with very dry skin
  • People who suffer from excessive sweating

The most significant danger facing these people is not the wart lesion itself, but the infection that can result from it.

This occurs when an open wound comes into contact with other bacteria or fungal infections.

In this case, various complications can arise, including: 

To avoid this, the wart should be treated as soon as symptoms of an infection appear.

When should you consult a podiatrist?

The presence of one or more of these warning signs should greatly motivate you to seek the advice of a podiatrist:

  • Redness
  • Swelling around the infected areas
  • A foul-smelling odour emanating from the lesion
  • A greenish liquid drains from it
  • Your toenails are deformed
  • The virus causes warts that spread

If you experience any of these symptoms and your wart does not respond to conventional treatments, your podiatrist can set up an alternative treatment plan.

For example, they may suggest:

  • Prescription drugs
  • A treatment with Cantharone
  • Bleomycin injections
  • Laser treatment
  • Minor foot surgery
  • Liquid nitrogen treatment
  • Foot care

PiedRéseau: Podiatry clinics that help you treat plantar warts 

Plantar warts usually resolve themselves on their own.

However, if you are among those more at risk, it may be wise to consult a podiatrist.

The same applies for a painful wart that restricts you in your movement or that keeps reappearing.

An infected foot lesion can lead to serious complications; so don’t wait until the last minute before seeking help.

Contact your PiedRéseau clinic for more information on treating plantar warts.