Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or just enjoy splashing around in the water, hanging out poolside can be one of the highlights of the summer. You may frequent a neighborhood pool or enjoy a regular swim at your local gym, but no matter where you’d like to perfect your doggy paddle, you want to watch out for plantar warts.
Where Do Plantar Warts Come From?
Plantar warts are unpleasant skin growths on the soles of the feet. They are especially prevalent on the heels or balls of the feet where pressure is the greatest. These warts are caused by a type of human papillomavirus (HPV) as it enters the skin via small cuts, breaks or weak points on the soles of the feet.
Although plantar warts aren’t a major health concern, they can be painful and they are contagious. Because HPV thrives in warm, moist conditions, swimming pools are a common place for exposure.
You’re probably already in the habit of protecting yourself against skin cancer by using sunscreen and limiting sun exposure, so you can add wart prevention into your pool routine. There are a few easy steps that can help you reduce the risk of contracting plantar warts:
- Always wear sandals or other footwear when walking around the swimming pool deck, locker room or showers
- Make sure you thoroughly clean your feet after swimming
- Change your shoes and socks daily
- If you do have warts, use a separate nail clipper, emery board and pumice stone than the equipment you use on your healthy nails and skin to prevent them from spreading and don’t share these instruments with anyone else
Finally, check your feet regularly all summer long because plantar warts are easier to treat with early detection.