Seed Warts

What Are Seed Warts

Verruca vulgaris, otherwise known as seed warts, are a type of noncancerous skin growth caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Seed warts typically appear on the weight-bearing regions of the feet, including the soles, heels, and balls of the foot. Their name derives from the presence of small black dots resembling seeds – which are, in fact, clotted blood vessels – and can typically have a rough, grainy texture. Seed warts can vary in size, and they can also be quite painful or tender, especially when pressure is applied during walking or standing.

It is important to note that seed warts are different from common warts, as they have distinct characteristics and specific locations. While common warts often occur on the hands and fingers, seed warts are specifically localized on the feet. Unlike some other types of warts that protrude outward from the skin, seed warts tend to grow inward due to the pressure exerted on the weight-bearing areas of the feet. Consequently, they can lead to the development of a small callus or thickened area over time, which can cause additional discomfort and interfere with daily activities such as walking or running.

Seed warts are highly contagious and can spread from person to person or from one part of the body to another. The virus is primarily transmitted through direct contact, particularly in environments characterized by warmth and moisture, such as public showers, locker rooms, and pool areas. The virus can enter the body through tiny cuts or breaks in the skin, and if left untreated, seed warts can persist for a long time, ranging from several months to years. Therefore, seeking appropriate seed wart treatment and taking preventive measures are essential for managing these warts effectively.

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Seed Warts - Symptoms | APDerm

Seed Wart Symptoms

Seed warts exhibit several characteristic symptoms; however, it is important to note that while some may experience significant pain and discomfort, others may not experience symptoms at all. Therefore, the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person. Seed wart symptoms typically include the following:

  1. Raised, Rough Skin: Seed warts are typically characterized by their rough and grainy texture. They can sometimes take on a rounded or irregular shape, and these warts usually develop on weight-bearing areas of the foot. When identifying seed warts, it is essential to consider their texture, elevation, and shape. The roughness and elevation result from the excessive growth of skin cells caused by the HPV infection. Identifying these distinct features can help in recognizing seed warts and seeking appropriate medical attention.
  2. Black Dots: One of the distinguishing features of seed warts is the presence of small black dots within them. The presence of these black dots is attributed to clotted blood vessels, which can be easily noticed and contribute to the wart’s unique appearance. These black dots are a result of the disrupted blood flow caused by the HPV infection and play a crucial role in identifying and differentiating seed warts from other skin conditions. If you suspect you have seed warts, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis.
  3. Pain or Discomfort: Seed warts can cause different levels of pain or tenderness, particularly when subjected to pressure. This discomfort becomes more apparent during activities like walking or standing in weight-bearing regions of the feet. The pressure exerted on these areas results in increased discomfort, and it is important to be mindful of this pain and take appropriate measures to alleviate it. Being aware of the potential discomfort caused by seed warts can aid in seeking timely treatment and finding relief.
  4. Callus Formation: seed warts have the potential to cause the development of a callus or thickened skin around the affected area. This occurs because the wart grows inward and applies pressure to the sole of the foot. The presence of the callus can intensify the discomfort experienced and might necessitate treatment in conjunction with addressing the wart itself. Addressing both the seed wart and the accompanying callus is crucial for relieving discomfort and fostering the healing process.

Seed Warts Causes | APDerm

Seed Wart Causes

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes seed warts, medically known as verruca plantaris. HPV is a highly contagious virus that can infect the outermost layer of the skin, resulting in the formation of warts. There are more than one hundred distinct types of HPV, but only a few strains cause seed warts – these include HPV types 1, 2, 4, 60, and 63.

HPV is transmitted through direct contact with the virus or by touching contaminated surfaces or objects. The virus can enter the skin through small cuts, breaks, or abrasions, invading skin cells and leading to the development of warts. HPV types 1 and 2 are considered the primary culprits for causing seed warts – these strains are commonly found in warm and moist environments where the virus can thrive, like public pools, locker rooms, and communal showers. HPV types 4, 60, and 63 are less prevalent but have also been associated with seed warts. To minimize the risk of HPV transmission and subsequent wart development, it is advisable to practice good hygiene, such as regularly washing hands, avoiding direct contact with infected individuals or surfaces, and keeping cuts or abrasions on the skin clean and covered.

Seed warts exhibit a high degree of contagiousness, surpassing certain other wart types; however, the likelihood of infection and subsequent wart development varies from person to person. This susceptibility is influenced by factors such as a weakened immune system, walking barefoot in public places, the presence of any skin abrasions or openings that serve as entry points for the virus, and finally, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

Seed Warts Diagnosis | APDerm

Seed Wart Diagnosis

Diagnosing a seed wart typically involves a visual examination by a healthcare professional as the first step. During this examination, the healthcare provider pays close attention to the affected area, which is usually the feet. They carefully assess the texture, elevation, and shape of the wart while also taking note of any accompanying symptoms such as pain or tenderness. Additionally, the patient’s medical history, including any prior experiences with warts or other skin conditions, is considered during the diagnostic process.

A crucial aspect of identifying a seed wart lies in recognizing its distinct characteristics. Seed warts often exhibit a rough texture and appear elevated above the surrounding skin. While their shape can vary, they tend to be rounded or irregular. Another defining feature is the presence of small black dots within the wart, resembling seeds. These dots are clotted blood vessels and contribute to the wart’s recognizable appearance. By carefully observing these unique attributes, healthcare providers can confidently diagnose a seed wart.

In certain cases, healthcare providers may also employ a dermatoscope – a handheld device equipped with magnification and lighting capabilities to conduct a closer examination of the wart. This technique, known as dermatoscopy, allows for a more detailed assessment of the wart’s features, including the characteristic black dots. Dermoscopy can provide valuable insights that support the diagnosis. If the diagnosis remains uncertain or the wart fails to respond to initial treatment attempts, a healthcare provider may recommend a skin biopsy which involves extracting a small sample of the wart for further analysis under a microscope. By examining the biopsy sample, the healthcare provider can then confirm the diagnosis of a seed wart and rule out other potential conditions.

It is crucial to seek medical advice for an accurate seed wart diagnosis as healthcare professionals have the expertise to differentiate seed wart on skin from other skin conditions. They are also best suited to recommend suitable treatment options based on the diagnosis.

Seed Warts Treatments | APDerm

Seed Wart Treatments

Although seed warts have the potential to resolve spontaneously, seeking treatment may be necessary to alleviate symptoms or accelerate the healing process. There are various treatment options available, depending on the severity and preference of the individual; however, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any treatment.

One common approach is using over-the-counter (OTC) treatments as the first step. These include creams, gels, and patches that contain salicylic acid, an ingredient that helps to gradually remove the seed wart by breaking down its layers over time. It is important to carefully follow the instructions provided with OTC medications and to be consistent with their application to achieve the best results. Healthcare professionals might also recommend the use of topical medications that contain more potent ingredients when the warts are extensive. For guidance on seed wart treatment options, consult a healthcare professional.

In some cases, as mentioned above, prescription medications may be necessary. Your doctor can prescribe stronger topical medications with higher concentrations of salicylic acid or other ingredients like podophyllin or cantharidin. These medications can be more potent and provide additional help in eliminating the seed wart. If OTC treatments are ineffective, your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist for further evaluation and potential treatment options, such as immunotherapy or surgical removal.

Another treatment option is cryotherapy, which involves freezing the seed wart using liquid nitrogen. This freezing process causes the wart to blister and eventually fall off. Cryotherapy can be performed by a healthcare professional, and multiple sessions may be required to remove the seed wart completely. Laser therapy is also an effective method for seed wart removal and it utilizes a focused laser beam to target the blood vessels that supply the wart. By destroying these blood vessels, the wart is deprived of its blood supply and gradually diminishes. Laser therapy is typically performed by a dermatologist and may likewise require multiple sessions depending on the size and depth of the wart. Once again, whether to pursue cryotherapy or laser therapy will depend on your specific situation and the guidance of a healthcare professional who can ensure that the chosen treatment aligns with your medical history and overall health.

Seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is essential when it comes to treating seed warts. They play a crucial role in monitoring the progress of the treatment and addressing any concerns that may arise during the process. If you suspect you have seed warts or require assistance in exploring treatment options, we highly recommended that you consult a healthcare provider. They possess the necessary expertise to diagnose the condition accurately and recommend suitable treatments tailored to your specific needs.

Seed Warts Prevention | APDerm

Seed Wart Prevention

Prevention plays a significant role in reducing the risk of developing seed warts and entails implementing simple yet effective measures to minimize the risk of virus exposure. By adopting the following preventive strategies, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of contracting seed warts:

  1. Wear protective footwear: When using communal areas like public showers or locker rooms, wear flip-flops or sandals. This creates a barrier between your feet and potentially contaminated surfaces, reducing the chances of coming into direct contact with the virus.
  2. Maintain foot hygiene: Practicing proper foot hygiene is crucial in preventing seed warts. Be sure to wash your feet regularly with soap and warm water, paying special attention to the areas between the toes where moisture can accumulate, and dry them properly.
  3. Protect cuts and breaks in the skin: Covering wounds, scrapes, and other skin breaks with clean bandages or dressings can serve as an HPV barrier. This simple measure helps prevent the virus from entering the skin and reduces the risk of developing seed warts.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items: Seed warts can spread through indirect contact with infected surfaces or objects. To minimize the risk of transmission, refrain from sharing personal items such as socks, shoes, or towels with others.
  5. Boost your immune system: A strong immune system is crucial in preventing seed warts. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, helps strengthen your immune system. This boosts your ability to fight off HPV infections.

Prevention is key to minimizing the risk of seed warts. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce your risk of contracting seed warts; however, bear in mind that despite taking precautions, transmission may still occur in certain situations. If you suspect you have been exposed to the virus or have concerns about seed warts, seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is advisable.

When to Look for Medical Help?

Dealing with seed warts can be both frustrating and painful, particularly when they affect weight-bearing areas of the feet. If you experience persistent or worsening symptoms, significant pain or discomfort, spreading or multiplying warts, signs of infection or complications, or if you have concerns about your diagnosis, we highly recommended that you consult a healthcare professional for evaluation. These signs may indicate the need for a different treatment approach, and by consulting a doctor or dermatologist, you can receive the necessary expertise and guidance to effectively manage your seed warts and find relief.

Click here to schedule an appointment online!

Call us at: (978) 759-4032