Plantar warts are a common foot problem most frequently found in children. They are caused by a viral infection in the skin from the human papillomavirus (HPV). This infection occurs when skin comes in contact with the virus. The infection does not spread through the blood stream and can only live in skin tissue. This virus is most commonly introduced in showers and around swimming pools. The HPV virus is not highly contagious and some people are even immune to it, but being exposed in just the right situation will lead to the development of a wart. The name plantar wart comes from the location of the foot where they are found. The bottom of the foot is called the plantar surface. So when a wart shows up on the foot, the wart is called a plantar wart.
Plantar warts often appear as well demarcated thick areas of skin. They are often misdiagnosed as a callus when they occur on the bottom of the foot. A simple way to distinguish between a plantar wart and a callus is to squeeze the lesion between your fingers in a pinching fashion. If this pinching causes pain it is most likely a plantar wart. Calluses tend to cause pain when direct pressure is applied. Plantar warts can appear in large spread out clusters with normal appearing skin between each cluster. This presentation is called mosaic warts.
The are several treatments available for plantar warts, including topical application of medication, freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, oral medications, laser treatment, injected medication, and surgical removal. The treatment of choice will depend on location, size, patient’s age, activity level, and the doctor’s preference. Over-the-counter medications are often unsuccessful due to the thick skin on the foot which rejects the medication and renders it useless. Laser treatment and surgical excision are most reliable but are associated with more risks, such as infection and the development of a scar. For more information call us or request your appointment online!
Removal of Warty Growths
Learn more about wart treatment options and how to get rid of them in more detail here.