Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Planter's or Plantar?...A Wart by Any Other Name

Plantar warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and affect 7-10% of the Canadian population. Yet, this common, contagious, and sometimes painful invader of the foot suffers from an identity crisis, beginning first with its name.
The “plantar” in plantar wart refers to the fact that it appears on the plantar aspect of the foot – your sole. Yet, it’s not uncommon to hear it referred to mistakenly as a “planter’s wart.”
One can’t be sure how “planter’s” came to be. Certainly, there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that farmers or avid gardeners are any more prone to contracting warts on their feet than the rest of us! Actually, most at risk for plantar warts are people who in their bare feet frequent public places like sports locker and change rooms, showers, the deck areas in community swimming pools, and hotel rooms. Frequently- damp footwear like hockey skates or athletic shoes can harbour the virus. Children and diabetics are also particularly susceptible to infection.

Another theory behind the planter’s wart / plantar wart muddle might be the resemblance in people’s minds between the shape of some plantar warts and a certain monocle-wearing shelled man in a top hat you find on the tin of a favourite snack. For our part, we think that’s just nuts since plantar warts most commonly take on a cauliflower appearance. Adding to the confusion, people will sometimes come to us mistaking their plantar wart for a corn or vice versa. Yet, just as any five year old who has ever turned his or her nose up at the dinner table will tell you, there’s a big difference between corn and cauliflower. And, so it is with corns and plantar warts as well – although distinguishing between them often requires the highly trained eye of a chiropodist to make the right diagnosis.

In the end, it doesn’t matter so much what you call it we suppose. A plantar wart by any other name is still just as infectious, contagious, and stubborn to treat. Home remedies are seldom effective, and people with diabetes should never use off-the-shelf wart removers since they can cause serious skin ulcers. The name that is indeed important to remember in dealing with your plantar wart or any other foot problem is “Kawartha Total Foot Care Centre.” We have the specialized skills and training to provide the right diagnosis and treatment.

Please visit our website at www.totalfootcare.ca for more information about your good foot health.

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