Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

Plantar warts are results of infections caused by a particular strain of a virus, the HPV or the Human Papilloma Virus.  People frequently ask Are Plantar Warts Contagious? As they are caused by a virus, therefore by general standards they are contagious in nature.

The virus may make a direct contact with the skin by entering through cut surfaces, wounds or scratches. After entering the skin, the virus grows more inwards and then the infection results in damaging and thickening of the skin, which finally causes the appearance of warts. First you must differentiate between a plantar wart and a corn in the foot.

There are more than 100 strains of HPV that are harmful to humans. However, only a few of these strains are known to cause the formation of warts, especially on the soles of the feet.

Although these strains are not highly contagious but depending upon the person’s immune system, one may or may not get infected with the virus on coming in contact with them.

The virus is known to thrive and grow best in warm and moist surroundings. Hence, the environment provided by swimming pools, locker rooms and shower floors are best suited for them.

Therefore, one has to think about these microscopic creatures before entering any such structure barefooted and take precautions accordingly.

As a virus can only infect the system if it enters the body. Therefore for infecting, the organism needs an entry point through which it can penetrate the outer skin and grow. These desired entry points can be given by structures like –

  •  Cracks in dry skin
  •  Cuts or scrapes or scratches present on the skin surface and expose the inner layers
  •  Wet skin or fragile skin that is formed after a prolonged exposure to water, and can be easily penetrated.

As soon as the infection enters the skin, the virus grows inwards beneath a hard formation of the outer layer of skin that is known as callus. Warts appear as small lesions or grainy growth that is surrounded by a thick callus.

At the centre of the callus is the infected spot through which the virus has entered the system. As mentioned earlier, these viruses have a growing environment in moist and warm surroundings, like the ones present in locker rooms and swimming pools.

Therefore the chances of getting contact with the virus are high in these surroundings. People may get infected by
walking barefoot around public swimming pools or locker rooms.

In order to avoid getting contacted by the virus one should always try to take precautions wherever possible. The chances of getting infected will considerably reduce if walking barefoot in public places is avoided by wearing a pair of flip flops or thick socks. Several other precautions that can be taken are as follows:

  • The infected person or the people around the infected person should avoid direct contact with warts. After touching or applying any treatment to warts, washing of hands is a must.
  • The feet must be kept dry and clean at all times. The shoes and socks must be changed on a daily basis.
  •  Once infected, scratching and picking on warts should be avoided as it will lead to its spreading.

As warts are not highly contagious, therefore not everybody who comes in contact with the virus will get infected. However, people having a weak immune system are more likely to get infected. These include –

  •  Kids, people belonging to the age group of 12-15 and older people with a weak immune system.
  • People who have HIV or any other immunosuppressive disease.
  • People who are on medication for suppressing the immune system.
  • People who have had warts before

Plantar warts eventually tend to become painful and may alter the person’s gait or normal posture because of the discomfort. Therefore it’s best to avoid getting contacted by taking the necessary precautions.

Tags: Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

Image Source: WebMD

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