Warts: What Parents of School-Age Children Need to Know
By Dr. Oliver Zong
health care and hygiene are important tools in helping your children
reduce hazardous health issues. Schools can be a breeding ground
for germs that can lead to a variety of health issues. Plantar warts
are just one of the many health problems that can infect kids while
they are in school. According to Dr. Oliver Zong, a New York City
podiatrist, its important to know just how to keep your kids
from getting plantar warts and, if they already have them, how they
can be treated.
warts are hard growths that appear on the soles of the feet. They
are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV thrives in warm,
moist environments, which is why it is easily spread at public swimming
pools, communal showers, gyms and locker rooms. The virus can also
enter the skin after having direct contact with someone who is already
infected. Unlike other types of warts, a plantar wart can be very
uncomfortable and are often painful. Because people develop immunity
against these viruses as they get older, plantar warts are more
common in children than in adults. Dr. Zong provides the following
useful information on the symptoms of plantar warts and how they
can be prevented and treated:
*Small, bumpy growths on the soles of the feet that may feel spongy.
They may have dark spots on their surface (tiny capillaries that
supply blood to the wart).
*Extreme tenderness in the soles of the feet when standing or walking.
*Bumps that interrupt the normal lines and ridges on the skin of
-May cause bleeding if scratched or traumatized.
-Often cause pain on the bottom of the foot and may feel like a
stone in shoes.
of the pressure from standing and walking, plantar warts rarely
rise above the skins surface.
Unfortunately, warts can be very resistant to treatment and
can reoccur, but the following are some treatment methods that may
prove to be effective.
medications Because these products contain chemicals
that may damage healthy skin found around plantar warts, they are
not recommended. Plantar warts should only be treated by a podiatrist.
Mild Acid A podiatrist may apply a topical acid to
the wart. The treatment usually takes several weeks of multiple
applications but will eventually disintegrate viral cells so that
healthy cells can replace them.
Laser Treatment (CO2 laser cautery) Performed as an
out-patient procedure using local anesthesia; produces little scarring
and is very effective for the treatment of plantar warts.
Prescription creams like Aldara and Carac Have proven to
be a painless alternative to help rid patients of viral lesions
and have become more popular among podiatrists in recent years.
Formulations with formaldehyde are also very effective.
Cryotherapy A procedure that freezes plantar
warts with a very cold solution. Cryotherapy destroys the virus
and causes the wart to turn black and fall off. It can, however,
be painful. The procedure may also prove ineffective if the solution
does not penetrate far enough to completely destroy HPV.
Debridement Surgical removal of warts. Not generally
recommended for the treatment of plantar warts because it can cause
painful scarring. It is often used as a last resort to treat very
Warn your children about the risks associated with walking barefoot
in public places. Protect their feet with shower shoes, thongs or
rubber swimming shoes and encourage them to wash their feet with
soap and warm water after swimming or changing in the school gym.
children to change their socks and shoes daily.
children keep their feet dry and clean.
not ignore growths or changes in your childs skin.
childrens feet periodically the sooner plantar warts
are discovered, the better the chance that treatment will prove
effective. While it may not be fully possible to prevent plantar
warts, early detection is very important since it is much easier
to treat a smaller wart before it spreads or before it becomes larger
Oliver Zong is a podiatrist in Manhattans influential Financial
District. As one of the premier cosmetic foot surgeons in the country,
he serves as the Director of Surgery at NYC FootCare and is on the
Board of Directors at Gramercy Park Surgery Center. Besides traditional
and cosmetic foot surgery, Dr. Zong is also an accomplished cryosurgeon
and co-founder of the Podiatric Cryosurgery Center of New York.
He is an attending physician at NYU Downtown Hospital, Wyckoff Heights
Medical Center, Cabrini Medical Center, Gramercy Park Surgery Center
and Fifth Avenue Surgery Center. Dr. Zong is in private practice
with 2 office locations in Lower Manhattan and is co-owner of NY
Serenity Day Spa in beautiful Scarsdale, NY. Dr. Zong is also featured
as an expert columnist for Shoes.com, the nations largest
online retailer of footwear. For
more information please visit www.nycfootcare.com.