Plantar Warts

A wart, often called a plantar wart because it's found on the bottom of the foot, is a lesion that resembles a callus.  It is caused by the human papillomavirus and is transmitted from moist walking surfaces such as showers or swimming pools.

Signs and Sypmtoms

A wart feels like a lump under the foot and is only painful if the lesion is squeezed or pinched from side to side or bear direct weight on them.  As you continue to walk on them they can become larger and more painful as the thickened callus tissue hardens.


A plantar wart can often be diagnosed based on its characteristic appearance alone.  When your doctor trims the hard callused tissue from the surface of the wart , a pattern of small black dots that are actually the small blood vessels that feed the wart can be seen.  The best treatment is prevention which can be accomplished by not walking barefooted in public areas such as showers or changing rooms (wearing flip flops or sandals helps), not sharing socks and shoes, and avoiding direct contact on other body parts or on other people.  Over the counter salicylic acid can be used on small warts but this often takes a long time and can be frustrating.  Our podiatrist's have stronger acids to apply and can prescribe oral medication or stronger ointments.  We can also remove the warts with a spoon like instrument called a curette or with a laser.  Unfortunately warts have a high reoccurrence rate so quick treatment to keep them from spreading and prevention are best.

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