Plantar Warts


Know the basics

What is plantar wart?

Plantar warts are hard; grainy bumps usually exhibit on the areas that feel pressure, such as heels or balls of your feet. This pressure also may cause plantar warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus). Most plantar warts aren’t the serious health concern, but they can cause discomfort or pain. If self-care treatments for plantar warts don’t work, you may want to see your doctor to have them removed.

How common is plantar wart?

This health condition is extremely common. It commonly affects children (12-16 years). It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of plantar wart?

The common symptoms of plantar wart are:

  • A small, fleshy, rough, grainy growth (lesion) on the bottom of your foot.
  • Hard, thickened skin (callus) over a well-defined “spot” on the skin, where a wart has grown inward.
  • Black pinpoints, which are commonly called wart seeds, but are actually small, clotted blood vessels.
  • A lesion that interrupts the normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot.
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • The lesion is painful or changes in appearance or color.
  • You also have a weakened immune system because of immune-suppressing drugs, HIV/AIDS, diabetes or other immune system disorders.
  • You have warts on your face or another sensitive part of your body (e.g., genitals, mouth, nostrils).

Know the causes

What causes plantar wart?

Plantar warts are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The virus invades your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the skin in a warm, moist environment, such as a shower room floor. You also acquire the wart virus through direct contact with an infected person. Once inside the skin, the virus can grow and spread, stimulating the rapid generation of cells on the surface of your skin.

It’s generally difficult to tell when or where you came into contact with the organism; however, since the incubation period for the HPV can be up to three months, although a wart itself can lie dormant for years.

There are over 60 different strains of HPV. Technically, warts may appear anywhere on the skin, which has a different name like common warts, flat warts, filiform warts, periungual warts, but only those that appear on the soles of the feet are known as plantar warts.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for plantar wart?

There are many risk factors for plantar wart, such as:

  • Children and teenagers;
  • Weakened immune system people;
  • People who had plantar warts before;
  • Walking with a crack barefoot in a high risk of the infected environment such as public showers.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is plantar wart diagnosed?

In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a plantar wart with one or more of these techniques:

  • Examining the lesion;
  • Paring the lesion with a scalpel and checking for signs of dark, pinpoint dots — tiny clotted blood vessels;
  • Removing a small section of the lesion (shave biopsy) and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.

How is plantar wart treated?

Most plantar warts go away without treatment, though it may take a year or two. If your self-care approaches haven’t helped, talk with your doctor about trying these treatments:

  • Salicylic acid. Salicylic acid works by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. They may also stimulate your immune system’s ability to fight warts.
  • This treatment will use liquid nitrogen and it should be done at a doctor’s office. Some studies show that this treatment is more effective when combined with salicylic acid treatments.
  • Minor surgery. Your doctor cuts away the wart or destroys it by using an electric needle (electrodesiccation and curettage).
  • Laser treatment. Pulsed-dye laser treatment burns closed (cauterizes) tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off.
  • HPV Vaccine. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been used with success to treat warts.

In case you have diabetes, please consult your podiatric physician at the first sign of any problems with the skin of your feet or toes, no matter how minor you may think they are. The following precautions and steps may be recommended by your podiatric physician, but should not be undertaken without his/her supervision and consent.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage plantar wart?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with plantar wart:

  • Keep your feet clean, and to keep them away from surfaces on which the HPV might be lurking.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, and wear sandals or some kind of foot covering at pools and in locker rooms and other warm, moist communal areas where people go barefoot.
  • Change your shoes and socks daily, and allow your shoes to dry thoroughly between each wearing. Do not wear the shoes or socks of others, not even those of your closest friends.
  • Do not pick, pull or try to snip at it.
  • Wash your hands carefully after caring for the affected area, and do not touch yourself anywhere before you wash those hands.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 4, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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