A wart is a small growth on the skin that forms when the skin is infected by a virus. Plantar Warts (Verruca Plantaris) can appear anywhere on the foot, but typically show up on the bottom (plantar side). Plantar Warts most commonly occur in children, adolescents and the elderly.
There are two types of plantar warts:
- Solitary Wart – a single wart that often grows in size and could multiply forming additional "satellite” warts.
- Mosaic Warts – a cluster of several small warts growing closely together in one area. This type is more difficult to treat.
Plantar Warts are often caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus can be contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or in warm, moist environments such as public pools or locker rooms. Plantar Warts can be spread by touching, scratching, or even direct contact with skin shed from another wart.
Plantar Warts appear on the soles of the feet and can be very painful. Unlike other foot warts, Plantar Warts are hard and flat with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. They are often gray or brown with tiny black dots that appear on the surface. The dots are dried blood in the capillaries.
The best ways to prevent both attracting and spreading Plantar Warts are:
- Avoid direct contact with warts from other people and other areas of your body
- Avoid walking barefoot, especially on dirty surfaces or warm moist environments, such as public pools or locker rooms
- Change your shoes and socks every day
- Keep your feet clean and dry
Because warts can be resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur, over-the-counter medicines are often ineffective and destroy the surrounding healthy tissue. Some Plantar Warts may clear up on their own, but because they can be painful, most people want fast relief.
It’s important to have a podiatrist examine the foot to properly diagnose the wart and recommend proper treatment, which could be topical or oral treatments, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), acid treatments or surgery. You should never attempt to remove warts yourself.