About 10% of Americans have warts, a common skin condition caused by an even more common virus. While warts typically don’t cause any major health problems, they can be a source of embarrassment and physical discomfort.
Joel S Segalman, FACFAS, FACFAO, Stephen Lazaroff, DPM, FACFAS, and the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists, LLC, offer in-office treatments for stubborn warts in patients at their Waterbury and Newtown, Connecticut, offices, helping eradicate the virus that causes them. Here’s how to tell if your warts need treatment.
Warts are caused by a viral infection in your skin — called the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a large family of more than 100 viruses. In fact, the virus is so common, most of us become infected at some point. Sometimes the body’s immune system is able to fight off the infection, and sometimes, the virus takes “root” and causes warts.
Warts happen when the virus infects your skin, entering it through a tiny cut, abrasion, or other opening. The virus multiplies in the deeper layers of skin tissue, eventually causing the hard, rough, or fleshy appearance at the skin surface.
Once your skin is infected, it can take months for the wart to form. This process gives the virus plenty of time to “take root,” which explains why some types of warts can be stubborn to treat. It’s also worth noting that warts are highly contagious — that is, you can spread the HPV infection to someone else through skin-to-skin contact or by wearing the shoes of someone who’s infected, for instance.
Different types of HPV cause different types of warts, including genital warts. Some viruses associated with genital warts increase your risk of certain cancers, yet the types that cause warts on your hands and feet do not. However, rarely, a wart may become malignant (cancerous).
If you have warts, it’s always a good idea to have them checked out. That’s because some other types of skin growths, like skin cancers, may resemble warts, especially in their early stages. Having skin growths medically evaluated is the first important step in getting the correct treatment.
Although there’s no cure for the virus that causes warts, some warts do go away on their own. Warts may not cause any serious health risks, but they can be itchy or painful, and some may even bleed, leaving you open to infection. Generally, if warts don’t disappear after a few months, if they spread, or if they’re causing problems (including feelings of self-consciousness), it’s time for medical care.
Our team treats stubborn warts right in our office, using simple techniques to remove the wart all the way down to its root. Cryotherapy — “freezing” the wart — can be very effective for hard-to-treat warts.
Visible warts can make you feel really self-conscious, and unless they get treated, warts can quickly spread to other parts of your skin. Having warts evaluated early can prevent them from spreading while helping you enjoy clearer, healthier skin.
To learn more about wart treatment, book an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Performance Foot & Ankle Specialists today.