Dear Running Doc:
I am a marathon runner and I have developed a plantar wart on the bottom of my right foot. What is this and how can I get rid of it?
– Peter G., Westwood, NJ
Thanks for the question, Peter. This is a very common ailment amongs athletes who walk barefoot in locker rooms where the wart causing virus (HPV) is prevalent. The small growth appears on weight baring areas of your feet. The pressure causes inward growth covered by a hard think layer of skin.
If you do nothing Peter, within six months to two years it will go away on its own. You can try over the counter salicylic acid. Another treatment option is using duct tape. Cover the wart with silver duct tape, changing it every few days. When you take the tape off use a pumice stone to take off the dead tissue and then leave the wart open to dry out over a few hours before reapplying the duct tape.
If all other treatment options have failed, a podiatrist in the office can remove the wart. The surgery requires a few weeks of healing and there is always the problem of a scar.
If you are trying the conservative approaches above using a donut bandage over the wart may make this less painful until it goes away. Be patient before jumping to surgery.
I hope this answers your questions, Peter. If you have any other future questions, please write.
Lewis G. Maharam, MD, FACSM is one of the world’s most extensively credentialed and well-known sports health experts. Better known as Running Doc™, Maharam is author of Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running and past medical director of the NYC Marathon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. He is also past president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine. Learn more at runningdoc.com.