Plantar warts are growths that typically appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of the feet. These warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin, such as cuts, that are on the bottom of the feet. Plantar warts are more likely to affect children and teenagers, people with weakened immune systems, people who have a history with plantar warts, and people who walk barefoot in environments exposed to a wart-causing virus.

If you suspect you have plantar warts, you may have the following symptoms: pain or tenderness while walking, a lesion that interrupts the ridges in the skin of your foot, small fleshy lesions on the bottom of the foot, or a callus where a wart has grown inward over a well-defined spot on the skin.

HPV causes plantar warts to form and is very common. There are more than 100 kinds of the virus in existence. However, only a few of them cause warts on the feet. The other types of HPV are likely to cause warts on other parts of the body.

If you have plantar warts, your podiatrist may try different treatment methods depending on your specific case. Some treatments for plantar warts are peeling medicines (salicylic acid), freezing medicines (cryotherapy), or surgical procedures. Laser treatments and vaccines are also used to treat plantar warts.

Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts (FAQs)

What are plantar warts?
Plantar warts are benign, fleshy growths that can occur on the bottom of the feet due to a viral infection. The warts may or may not be painful, depending on their location on the foot. Warts that are located on areas that bear a lot of weight, like the heel, may grow inwards due to pressure from walking or standing, which can be particularly painful.
What do plantar warts look like?
Plantar warts can occur individually or in a cluster. They are typically fleshy, circular areas of dry, grainy skin. Warts on the feet are usually flat, but can sometimes be raised. They may be small or large. Warts can be differentiated from corns and calluses by the small, black dots located at their centers. These dots are actually the blood supply to the wart.
What causes plantar warts?
Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) getting into the skin of the feet. HPV is highly contagious and can be contracted through contact with infected surfaces, like locker room floors, or infected individuals. This is why you should avoid going barefoot in public spaces and sharing personal items like shoes, socks, and towels.
How are plantar warts treated?
There are a variety of treatments available for plantar warts. Some warts can go away on their own or with the help of over-the-counter treatments. Others may require medical intervention, particularly if they are large, wide-spread, painful, showing signs of infection, or if you have a systemic illness like diabetes that can interfere with healing. Medical treatment options for plantar warts include applying salicylic acid to the wart, freezing or burning it off, laser treatments, or surgical excision. Talk to your podiatrist to determine the right course of treatment for you.


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