Plantar wart

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Plantar wart/verruca
Classification and external resources

A plantar wart. Striae (fingerprints) go around the lesion.
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Plantar wart/verruca
Classification and external resources

A plantar wart. Striae (fingerprints) go around the lesion.

A plantar wart (also known as "Verruca plantaris"[1]:405 and myrmecia) is a wart caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) occurring on the sole (Latin planta) or toes of the foot. (HPV infections in other locations are not plantar; see human papillomavirus.) Plantar warts are usually self-limiting, but treatment is generally recommended to lessen symptoms (which may include pain), decrease duration, and reduce transmission.[2]

Infection occurs in an estimated 7–10% of the US population. According to a 1949 survey consisting of 3,906 mainland Chinese and 1,222 Indians who have never worn shoes, plantar warts were reported in 0.29% of subjects. [3] While lower than rates in the US, this alone does not establish a causal relationship between shoe usage and incidence rate of plantar warts; Genetics plays an important role in determining susceptibility. Common warts appear approximately twice as frequently in whites as in blacks or Asians.[4]

Cause[edit source | edit]

Mosaic warts cluster
Young plantar warts

Plantar warts are benign epithelial tumors generally caused by infection by human papilloma virus types 1, 2, 4, 60, or 63[5], but have also been caused by types 57[6], 65[7], 66[8], and 156[9]. These types are classified as clinical (visible symptoms). The virus attacks compromised skin through direct contact, entering through possibly tiny cuts and abrasions in the stratum corneum (outermost layer of skin). After infection, warts may not become visible for several weeks or months. Because of pressure on the sole of the foot or finger, the wart is pushed inward and a layer of hard skin may form over the wart. A plantar wart can be painful if left untreated.[2][10]

Warts may spread through autoinoculation, by infecting nearby skin or by infected walking surfaces. They may fuse or develop into clusters called mosaic warts.[5]

Diagnosis[edit source | edit]

A plantar wart is a small lesion that appears on the sole of the foot and typically resembles a cauliflower, with tiny black petechiae (tiny hemorrhages under the skin) in the center. Pinpoint bleeding may occur when these are scratched, and they may be painful when standing or walking.

Plantar warts are often similar to calluses or corns, but can be differentiated by close observation of skin striations. Feet are covered in skin striae, which are akin to fingerprints on the feet. Skin striae go around plantar warts; if the lesion is not a plantar wart, the striations continue across the top layer of the skin. Plantar warts tend to be painful on application of pressure from either side of the lesion rather than direct pressure, unlike calluses (which tend to be painful on direct pressure instead).

Prevention[edit source | edit]

HPV is spread by direct and indirect contact from an infected host. Avoiding direct contact with infected surfaces such as communal changing rooms and shower floors and benches, avoiding sharing of shoes and socks and avoiding contact with warts on other parts of the body and on the bodies of others may help reduce the spread of infection. Infection is less common among adults than children.[10]

As all warts are contagious, precautions should be taken to avoid spreading them. The British National Health Service recommends that children with warts:

Plantar warts are not prevented by inoculation with currently available HPV vaccines, because the warts are caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus. Gardasil protects against strains 6, 11, 16, and 18; and Cervarix protects against 16 and 18; whereas plantar warts are caused by strains 1, 2, 4, and 63.

Treatment[edit source | edit]

Conventional treatments that have been found to be effective[12] include:

First-line therapyOver the counter salicylic acid
Second-line therapyCryosurgery, intralesional immunotherapy, or pulsed dye laser therapy
Third-line therapyBleomycin, surgical excision

Medications[edit source | edit]

Salicylic acid - The treatment of warts by keratolysis involves the peeling away of dead surface skin cells with Keratolytic chemicals such as salicylic acid or trichloroacetic acid. These are available in over-the-counter products or, in higher concentrations, may need to be prescribed by a physician. A 12 week daily treatment with salicylic acid has been shown to lead to a complete clearance of warts in 10-15% of the cases.[13]

Cantharadin (blister beetle extract) applied to a wart by a doctor causes a blister after 4–6 hours. One formulation is known as Cantharone (0.7% Cantharidin); a more powerful one is Cantharone PLUS which contains the same active ingredient as Cantharone, but it also contains Podophyllin (5%) and Salicylic Acid (30%).

Immunotherapy - Intralesional injection of antigens (mumps, candida or trichophytin antigens USP) is a new wart treatment which may trigger a host immune response to the wart virus, resulting in wart resolution. It is now recommended as a second-line therapy.[14]

Surgery[edit source | edit]

A ~7mm plantar wart surgically removed from patient's footsole after other treatments failed.

Liquid nitrogen - This, and similar cryosurgery methods, are a common surgical treatment which act by freezing the internal cell structure of the warts, destroying the live tissue. Up to three sessions may be required.

Electrodesiccation and surgical excision may produce scarring.

Laser surgery - This is generally a last resort treatment, as it is expensive and painful, but may be necessary for large, hard-to-cure warts.[15]

Cauterization - This may be effective as a prolonged treatment. As a short-term treatment, cauterization of the base with anaesthetic can be effective, but this method risks scars or keloids. Subsequent surgical removal is unnecessary, and risks keloids and recurrence in the operative scar.[16]

Duct tape[edit source | edit]

Duct tape occlusion therapy involves placing a piece of duct tape over the wart. Evidence fails to conclusively support its effectiveness.[17][18][19]

Relative effectiveness[edit source | edit]

A 2006 review of the effects of different local treatments for cutaneous, non-genital warts in healthy people concluded: [20]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ James, William D.; Berger, Timothy G.; et al. (2006). Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: clinical Dermatology. Saunders Elsevier. ISBN 0-7216-2921-0. 
  2. ^ a b Warts, Plantar at eMedicine
  3. ^ Amuel B. Shulman, Pod.D (1949). "Survey in China and India of Feet That Have Never Worn Shoes". The Journal of the National Association of Chiropodists. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Mallory SB, Baugh LS, Parker RK. (1991). "Warts in blacks versus whites.". Medline. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Human Papillomavirus at eMedicine
  6. ^ Egawa, Kitasato, Honda, Kawai, Mizushima, Ono (March 1998). "Human papillomavirus 57 identified in a plantar epidermoid cyst". British J Dermatology 138 (3): 510–14. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2133.1998.02135.x. 
  7. ^ "Human Papillomaviruses Compendium". Los Alamos National Laboratory. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  8. ^ Mark Davis, Bobbie Gostout, Renee McGovern, David Persing, Ronald Schut, Mark Pittelkow (August 2000). "Large plantar wart caused by human papillomavirus-66 and resolution by topical cidofovir therapy". J Am Acad Dermatol 43 (2): 340–3. doi:10.1067/mjd.2000.100534. 
  9. ^ Diego Chouhy, Elisa M. Bolatti, Gustavo Piccirilli, Adriana Sánchez, Ramón Fernandez Bussy, Adriana A. Giri1 (2013). "Identification of HPV-156, the prototype of a new human gammapapillomavirus species, by a generic and highly sensitive PCR strategy for long DNA fragments". Journal of General Virology. doi:10.1099/vir.0.048157-0. PMID 23136368. 
  10. ^ a b "Understanding Plantar Warts". Health Plan of New York. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  11. ^ "Clinical Knowledge Summaries: Previous version – Warts (including verrucas)" (PDF). National Health Service. January 2007. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  12. ^ Bacelieri R, Johnson SM (August 2005). "Cutaneous warts: an evidence-based approach to therapy". Am Fam Physician 72 (4): 647–52. PMID 16127954. 
  13. ^ Cockayne, S.; Curran, M.; Denby, G.; Hashmi, F.; Hewitt, C.; Hicks, K.; Jayakody, S.; Kang'Ombe, A. et al. (2011). "EVerT: Cryotherapy versus salicylic acid for the treatment of verrucae--a randomised controlled trial". Health technology assessment (Winchester, England) 15 (32): 1–170. doi:10.3310/hta15320. PMID 21899812.   edit
  14. ^ Bacelieri, R.; Johnson, S. M. (2005). "Cutaneous warts: An evidence-based approach to therapy". American family physician 72 (4): 647–652. PMID 16127954.  edit
  15. ^ "Laser Surgery for Warts",
  16. ^ Kunnamo, Ilkka (2005). Evidence-based Medicine Guidelines. John Wiley and Sons. p. 422. ISBN 978-0-470-01184-3. 
  17. ^ Wenner, R; Askari, SK, Cham, PM, Kedrowski, DA, Liu, A, Warshaw, EM (2007 Mar). "Duct tape for the treatment of common warts in adults: a double-blind randomized controlled trial". Archives of dermatology 143 (3): 309–13. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.3.309. PMID 17372095. 
  18. ^ Ringold, S; Mendoza, JA, Tarini, BA, Sox, C (2002 Oct). "Is duct tape occlusion therapy as effective as cryotherapy for the treatment of the common wart?". Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 156 (10): 975–7. PMID 12361441. 
  19. ^ Stubbings, A; Wacogne, I (2011 Sep). "Question 3. What is the efficacy of duct tape as a treatment for verruca vulgaris?". Archives of Disease in Childhood 96 (9): 897–9. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2011-300533. PMID 21836182. 
  20. ^ Gibbs S, Harvey I, Sterling JC, Stark R (2006). "Local treatments for cutaneous warts". In Gibbs, Sam. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 3 (2): CD001781. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001781.pub2. PMID 16855978. 

External links[edit source | edit]