Common Foot Problems

Plantar Warts

Warts are an infection of the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters the body through a break in the skin (such as a cut) and then forms a rough bump on the surface of the skin. Warts are benign (non-cancerous) growths.

Anyone can get warts, but they are more common among children because they frequently have scrapes and cuts. The elderly also get warts more frequently because they have a weaker immune system.

Warts are very contagious. They can easily be transmitted from one person to another by coming into direct contact with a wart or with something – such as a locker room floor or a towel – that has been in contact with a wart.

What are plantar warts?

A plantar wart is a wart that occurs on the sole (plantar) of the foot, most often on the parts of the sole that receive pressure when standing or walking. Because of this pressure, plantar warts are often flat or grow inward. Plantar warts can appear alone or in a cluster (mosaic warts). Plantar warts are usually small. They tend to grow slowly and can eventually penetrate deep enough into the skin to cause discomfort or pain.

What are the symptoms of plantar warts?

People who get plantar warts may feel as if they have a stone in their shoe. Because of their flat appearance and location on the bottom of the foot, plantar warts are frequently mistaken for calluses. Like calluses, plantar warts have tough, thick skin. However, unlike calluses, a plantar wart is painful when squeezed. A plantar wart may also have black dots on its surface. These dots are from the dilated blood vessels in the wart.

How are plantar warts treated?

Plantar warts often go away on their own after a certain amount of time. However, since these warts are frequently painful, the patient may want to have them treated right away. In order to successfully treat a plantar wart and reduce the chances of it coming back, it must be removed completely.

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