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Pediatric - Warts

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A child and/or parent may observe a “random” harmless growth on their child’s foot and/or ankle. These growths are caused by a dormant virus that may be stimulated and can spread to other parts of the body, as well as to other people. Warts (verrucae) are caused by a certain type of Human Papillomavirus (HPV); however, the virus is usually dormant and children may outgrow the onset of warts as they age. Children are at a greater risk for developing warts than adults, and that is mainly due to the exposure that children have from daycare to recess to playing with other children. Warts occur when the HPV virus enters the body through cuts or breaks in the skin and causes a NON-cancerous growth that builds upon the soles of feet or ankles, most commonly the bottom of the feet. The good news is that warts are very treatable and although warts can happen at any age, the doctors are Valley’s Foot and Ankle Specialists are here to help. A person is most at risk for warts if he/she has either of these: close contact with someone who has warts, or the patient has a weak immune system.  

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Examination 

Typically, warts are not painful, unless they are on the bottom of the foot where there is an increase in weight-bearing. As with any other virus, there are many different types of warts and each wart presents differently.

 

The most common types of warts and their presentation are:  

  • Common Warts: These usually have a rough surface and show a grayish-yellow or brown color. They may appears on the fingers, elbows, knees, and/or face.  

  • Flat Warts: These are typically small, smooth growths that most often occur on the children’s face. 

  • Periungual Warts: These appear as thickened skin around the nails that often cause painful splits in the skin and have the resemblance of fissures  

  • Plantar and Palmar Warts: These grow on the soles of feet or the palms of the hands. These warts may often present as a group of plantar of palmar warts called mosaic and may often be painful due to the weight bearing surface of the foot or pressure exposed to the palms.  

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Having a specialist, such as a Foot and Ankle specialist, Pediatrician, and/or Dermatologist examine your child for warts is imperative to reduce the risk of recurrence and provide appropriate treatment. Many over-the-counter medications may actually be harmful for your child. The good news is that warts on the bottom of the feet and those that occur on the ankles are not dangerous, but they may be painful and resistant to treatments.  

The doctors are Valley Foot and Ankle Specialists will examine your child appropriately, in order to confidently diagnose the raised area as a wart based on appearance. At that point, the doctor may use a small sterile blade to scrape away the top layers of the wart (this does not hurt the child), at that point small black dots beneath the top surface will be seen. A special application of Cantharone (physician use only) is than applied to the shaved area and the area is than covered. The application will than do all the work and your child can continue with enjoying time with his/her friends. No need to run to the store and purchase medications without knowing if it will help or not.  

Treatment 

The time of treatment for warts vary on several factors, for instance:  

  • How many warts does your child have? 

  • What type of warts does your child have? 

  • How long have the warts been there?  

  • Does anyone else in the family and/or household have warts? 

Although most warts will go away in weeks or months with no treatment, it is best to see a specialist in order to have peace of mind knowing that the warts will go away in a timely fashion.  

While treating your child, it is best to take preventative measure in order to prevent an increased risk of exposure to warts and the spread of them. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people as well. It can spread by skin-to-skin contact, as well as through towels or other personal items. It is best to make sure that your child does not touch the area with their hands, showers and/or bathtubs are routinely bleached, your child does not share anything that touches his or her wart, such as towels, and your child wears socks or slipper if he or she has warts on the bottom of their feet to prevent the spread in the house.  

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