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PM Pediatrics
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Dr. Christina Johns
Senior Medical Advisor, PM Pediatrics

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Eye of the Newt, Wart of the Toad (not quite Shakespeare)

I feel a little bit badly about a recent parenting moment.

For a perfectly healthy 8 year old, my daughter seems to have a lot of ailments. She VERY FREQUENTLY complains about EVERYTHING — sore throat, leg pain, stomachache—even “uncomfortable hair” (really), so it just seemed like it was yet another entry in the litany of complaints when she told me she had something on the bottom of her foot that hurt. She told me at a time when I was in the middle of doing something else so I quickly looked at the reddish-brown, firm bump in the middle of the sole of her foot and told her that she had a “blood blister” that would go away all by itself if she would just leave it alone.

She continued to complain about this “blood blister” being painful, and I continued to proceed with a plan commonly known as “doing nothing.”

It wasn’t tender enough to prohibit her from doing any of her desired activities, but persistent enough that, fast forward a week or so, I stopped what I was doing and took a real, live doctor look. With a flashlight and all. Sure enough, she’s got a wart on the bottom of her foot.

Plantar wart. Verruca Vulgaris. Crummy name, in my opinion. Irritating & fitting for what they are.

So let’s review.

Warts are caused by one of the many types of human papillomaviruses, and they are contagious. They are also often annoying and can be tender. They are not cancerous, and often will go away all on their own, but it can take a long time, like months to over a year. There are all different kinds of warts, from flat appearing to tiny seed or “mosaic” warts.

Some people try over the counter remedies, like freezing sprays and salicylic acid preparations. Some even try duct tape over the wart. (!) These work with varying success, so I suggest that you give them a fair try, following the directions very closely, and if the warts are spreading or are very tender then don’t delay in seeking medical attention. A physician can “freeze” them off or use some fancy tools for electrical zapping (cautery).

Warts aren’t dangerous at all, so you really have a few options for dealing with them:

1. Ignore.
2. Try home or over the counter remedies, adhering closely to the directions.
3. Ignore some more (my current plan).
4. Just go to the doctor and have it dealt with by cautery or another method.

We’re a few weeks into it over here, and I really do think I can convince myself that her wart is getting smaller. #win

Go to previous article: Taking the Stress out of Stitches

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