Plantar Warts (Verruca Plantaris)

A plantar wart is a thickened patch of skin that can appear on the bottom of the foot. Plantar wart symptoms range from tenderness to irritation. Although not life-threatening, they can be extremely painful and embarrassing.

What You Need To Know About Plantar Warts

What Are Plantar Warts?

A plantar wart occurs on your foot. Areas like the bottom of the foot, the heel, the front of the foot, and the toes are vulnerable to plantar warts. The color of a plantar wart is typically similar to that of the skin. However, sometimes small black dots often occur on the surface.

While usually benign, many patients find that the pain from plantar warts is too much to bear. Walking can press the plantar wart into the skin. This pressure from the plantar wart causes pain and irritation. Clusters of plantar warts — otherwise known as mosaic warts — can be extremely painful and get in the way of your regular routine.

Getting the best available plantar wart treatment starts with a visit to Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center. Schedule an appointment with a plantar wart pain relief expert now!

What Causes Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts occur when the human papillomavirus (HPV) enters the body through cuts or breaks in the skin and causes growths to erupt on the soles of the feet. The virus attacks through small cracks in the skin, and warts are often not present until many months after the initial contact. Because of the pressure on the sole of the foot, the wart is pushed inward and a hard layer of skin can form on top of it. They are very common and more often children are affected rather than adults.

HPV is spread by direct and indirect contact from an infected host. To avoid transmission, it is important to avoid direct contact with infected surfaces. Examples of risky surfaces include communal changing rooms and shower floors and benches. Additionally, avoid sharing shoes and socks. Contact with anyone with HPV can increase your risk of spreading the infection.

There are two distinct types of plantar warts. The first are solitary warts that appear on their own. The second are mosaic warts which appear as group clusters on the foot. Mosaic warts can be more difficult to treat.

Plantar Warts Symptoms

Plantar warts tend to be painful on the application of pressure from either side of the lesion rather than direct pressure, unlike calluses (which tend to be painful on direct pressure instead).

Plantar warts are often similar to calluses or corns, but can be differentiated by close observation of skin striations. Feet are covered in skin striae, which are akin to fingerprints of the feet. Skin striae go around plantar warts; if the lesion is not a plantar wart, the striations continue across the top layer of the skin.

Other plantar wart symptoms include:

  • A small lesion that interrupts the flow of your skin's natural ridges on your foot. Lesions can appear as small, uneven, bumpy protrusions that grow outward.

  • Hardened thick skin over a part of the foot. This is due to the wart growing inward.

  • Pain that occurs during walking or standing.

  • Small black dots which may look like seeds.

  • Flat depressions in the skin.

  • Yellowed or crusty skin.

How Are Plantar Warts Diagnosed?

Only a doctor can properly diagnose a plantar wart. A proper physical examination is usually sufficient to diagnose a plantar wart. Your doctor may ask you to demonstrate activities that cause you pain to understand your condition.

Sometimes your physician may take a sample of your growth. This sample will be analyzed in a laboratory to make sure that the wart is benign. You may experience some mild pain as your doctor collects these samples.

Plantar Wart Treatment

For the majority of people, plantar warts do not require treatment unless it is interfering with your life. Plantar wart treatment may include medications, cryotherapy, or surgical removal. In about a third to two-thirds of cases, plantar warts go away without treatment. However, this may take a couple of years.

Medications used in plantar wart treatment include salicylic acid, formic acid, and immunotherapy. Alternatively, your physician may use cryotherapy to freeze off the wart from the skin.

In severe cases, plantar wart removal requires surgery. The most common surgeries are electrodessication and surgical excision, laser surgery, and cauterization.

There are many remedies on the Internet for removing plantar warts. These are not advisable under any circumstances. Never try to remove a plantar wart yourself.

Finding plantar wart pain relief starts with a visit to Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center. Schedule an appointment with a plantar wart expert near you now.

Virtual After-Hours Access

Resurgens Orthopaedics has partnered with the HURT! app to offer FREE virtual after-hours access to orthopedic specialists right when you need it.

Download the app to receive immediate guidance on your injury.