WartWhat are Plantar Warts?

A plantar wart (verruca) is a relatively common condition affecting the skin.  These lesions typically have a cauliflower-like appearance.  They can appear anywhere on your feet, but those affecting the soles of your feet are called plantar warts.  Because of their location on a weight bearing surface, warts can often be painful when walking.  Children and young adults are typically more susceptible to warts than adults.

Causes

Plantar warts are caused by an infection of the human papilloma virus.  Only certain types of this virus can cause warts on your feet.  These viruses are spread by direct contact.  This can easily occur by walking barefoot in a dirty environment.  Infection happens when the virus enters the outer layer of your skin through a small cut or abrasion.  Warts can also bleed, which is another way the virus can be spread.

Symptoms

The virus causes a small lesion of thickened skin to grow.  It can be quite painful with pressure and with walking.  Planar warts often have a cauliflower-like appearance but can be easily mistaken for corns or calluses.  Warts are especially painful when squeezed from side to side, whereas calluses are more painful with direct pressure.  Another indication that it might be a wart is that it develops pinpoint bleeding when scratched.  If left untreated, warts can spread and grow in diameter.

Treatments for Plantar Warts

Whenever a new or unusual growth is detected on the skin of your feet, a thorough evaluation by your podiatrist is advised to ensure the correct diagnosis.  Although rare, it is possible for more serious skin conditions like carcinomas and melanomas to appear on your feet.  If there is any suspicion, a biopsy may be taken.

Once diagnosed, treatment to remove warts is recommended to reduce pain and to reduce the risk of further spreading the virus.  At CarePlus Foot and Ankle Specialists, we use a combination of careful debridement and topical medications to treat plantar warts with good success.  Warts can sometimes be difficult to treat, and as a last resort, the wart may be surgically removed.