What are plantar warts?

A wart, also referred to as a plantar wart, verrucae or papilloma, is a growth on the foot caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Warts are very common in children and those patients with suppressed immune systems. Warts can either be single and round or form in irregular clusters, known as mosaic warts. When warts occur in a weight bearing area on the foot a wart will grow into a superficial layers of the skin. These warts often cause pain as they can press on nerve endings.

Signs & Symptoms

  • A lesion on the foot or toes with a rough “cauliflower” like appearance
  • A lesion on the foot or toes with black dots (blood vessels)
  • Warts on the feet can present as single round lesions or multiple irregular shaped (mosaic) lesions
  • Warts that occur in a weight bearing area of the foot a wart will usually have thick crust or callus overlying it
  • Because warts have blood vessels they usually hurt when compressed or pinched, whilst corns hurt on direct pressure
  • The majority of lesions on the bottom of the feet on young children often turn out to plantar warts

Cause for plantar warts

Plantar warts or verrucae are caused by a virus known as Human Papillomavirus (HPV). This virus can be easily picked up when the foot is wet as this breaks down the foot’s natural skin barrier. Swimming pools and gym showers are common places to pick up plantar warts.

It is often suggested warts are highly contagious. They aren’t easily spread from person to person through direct contact.

Children are more prone to warts due to their immune system is immature and has not developed natural defence yet. Adults usually have developed some immunity against the HPV virus however if you have a compromised immune systems or are currently undergoing immune therapy it can be more difficult to get rid of the warts.

Treatment for plantar warts

Treatment involves removing the overlying layer of callus then commencement of liquid nitrogen or a topical medication that will treat the virus. We also can excise the wart via a surgical procedure. Please visit our wart surgery page for further information.

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