Plantar warts are rough growths on the feet. Like corns, they develop due to excessive pressure on the foot. Plantar warts commonly appear on the balls or heels of the feet, the most pressure-bearing areas. Sometimes plantar warts are also referred to as verruca plantaris. Plantar warts appear to be more circular and focal in shape.
Like all other warts, plantar warts are caused by the HPV virus. The virus enters your skin through cuts, breaks, or scratches on the bottom of your feet. Plantar warts aren’t serious and commonly go away on their own. Self-care measures are preferred to get rid of plantar warts. However, plantar warts can last several months to a few years in some people.
Plantar warts do not have seeds or roots. The signs and symptoms of plantar warts include:
- A rough growth on the bottom of the foot. They can appear on the ball or heel of the foot and the base of the toes.
- Pain on the foot while standing or walking.
- Brown and black skin
- A cluster of growth on foot.
- Small clotted blood vessels on the foot soles.
Usually, plantar warts aren’t serious and disappear on their own. But if you face the following symptoms, consult a dermatologist right away.
- Your wart is painful, bleeding, and changing color.
- Your wart recurs multiple times even after treating it.
- You feel that the skin growth is something different than a wart.
- The pain in warts is interfering with your daily activities.
- You also have a history of weakened immune systems or other diseases like diabetes.
Plantar warts are caused by HPV infection on the outer layer of skin on the soles of your feet. There are 150 strains of HPV virus, out of which a few cause plantar warts. Other types of HPV cause warts on different areas of the skin.
No. The strains of HPV that cause plantar warts aren’t highly contagious. Hence, unlike other types of warts, plantar warts don’t easily spread from physical contact. Moreover, plantar warts occur on foot, so they aren’t exposed physically to other people more often. This further decreases the chances of plantar warts from spreading.
However, like other warts, plantar warts love moist and warm places. So, walking barefoot in public places increases the chances of plantar warts transmission.
Plantar warts can develop on anyone. But its risk factors increase in people who:
- Have a weak immune system
- Are children, young adults, and elderly
- Have a previous history of having plantar warts
- Walk barefoot in public.
Here is how you can prevent plantar warts:
- Keep your feet dry and clean
- Wear clean and appropriate-sized shoes
- Wear foot protection while walking around high-risk areas like locker rooms, swimming pools, and gym showers.
- Don’t scratch or pick on your warts.
- Minimize contact with your own warts. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your warts.
Mostly plantar warts aren’t serious unless they bleed or the pain is unbearable. If the pain is severe, it can affect your normal posture and lead to muscle or joint discomfort. Moreover, you will face difficulty in standing, walking, or running.
The treatment of plantar warts is similar to the common wart treatment. Along with preventive measures, salicylic acid and liquid nitrogen are the most common remedies for treating plantar warts. But one of its downsides is that they require frequent treatment for several weeks to eliminate warts. Other treatments include applying topical medications directly to warts, surgery, or laser therapy.