This month, I have decided to write about plantar warts. This condition is very common among professional truck drivers due to their lifestyle on the road. Essentially, plantar warts are a non-cancero...
This month, I have decided to write about plantar warts. This condition is very common among professional truck drivers due to their lifestyle on the road. Essentially, plantar warts are a non-cancerous skin growth on the soles of your feet which are caused by the human papillomavirus.
Although plantar warts are not usually a serious health condition, they can be quite painful and irritating. The symptoms of plantar warts can vary from person to person. However, for most people the first noticeable symptom is pain or tenderness on the bottom of their foot when walking or running. On closer inspection, plantar warts appear as small flat growths with a rough surface and well-defined borders.
Another way to identify them is to look for bumps that interrupt the normal lines and ridges in the skin on the soles of your feet.
Plantar warts are contagious, however in order to catch them you must come into direct contact with the virus. This virus thrives in warm, moist conditions such as showers, locker rooms and public swimming pools. For truck drivers, walking barefoot in public showers is by far the most common way to contract the virus.
Due to this, I always recommend my patients wear slippers into the showers. Also, it is important for drivers to practice good hygiene by keeping their feet clean and dry. Changing your socks daily is a good idea. It is particularly important to take extra caution if you have a cut or a sore on your foot as these can serve as entry points for the virus.
Unfortunately, plantar warts can be very persistent as it is possible to spread the virus to other parts of the same foot. In order to avoid this, it is important to get new warts treated as quickly as possible and to avoid picking at the warts.
If left untreated, warts can grow and spread into groups of warts called mosaic warts. These clusters of warts can become very painful.
The good news is that home treatments of plantar warts are usually successful.
The most commonly used remedy is salicylic acid, which is an over-the-counter medication. This medication works by slowly peeling off the infected skin over a period of time. Salicylic acid treatment can take up to several weeks to completely remove warts.
Cryotherapy products such as Compound W Freeze Off are also effective in removing warts. If these home treatments are not successful, you will have to consult with your doctor to discuss other possible treatment options such as freezing, laser therapy or minor surgery. Doctors generally start with the least invasive and painful treatment and work their way up from there. Due to the fact that every individual’s immune system responds differently to warts, it may be necessary to try a few treatments before being successful. As you can see, plantar warts are more of a nuisance than a serious health condition.
By following these simple prevention strategies you will be able to greatly reduce your chances of catching them. Keep them in mind next time you pull over at a truck stop for a shower. Until next month, drive safely.
-Dr. Chris Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont.
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