Plantar Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the Human papillomavirus, HPV. Even though plantar warts are relatively harmless, they can be quite painful.
The HPV that causes plantar warts enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other vulnerable sites on the skin of your feet and thrives in damp, dark communal areas like locker rooms. The warts most often develop beneath pressure points, such as the heels or balls of your feet.
Plantar warts can appear anywhere on the foot or toes and tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. They are most often are gray or brown, sometimes described as looking like a cauliflower with one or more pinpoints of black in the center.
When the plantar wart is growing inward, it can appear as a callus-like growth over a well defined spot on the skin, and is sometimes misdiagnosed as a corns or calluses. This inward growth occurs on the parts of the foot under pressure from standing or walking, preventing the wart from rising above the skin surface.
Occasionally, plantar warts will spontaneously disappear after a short time, and then reoccur in the same location. If left untreated, plantar warts may grow to an inch or more in circumference and spread into clusters of warts, called a “mosaic wart”. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to plantar warts than adults.
Symptoms of Plantar warts
- Feeling of having a stone in your shoe
- Most often appear on the ball or heel of the foot
- Pain or tenderness when walking or standing
- Raised or flat, hard growth with rough surface, often described as looking like a cauliflower
- Occasional bleeding may occur
- In severe cases, plantar warts may cause a change in gait or posture that results in leg or back pain
How to avoid Plantar Warts
- Avoid direct contact with warts, both from other persons or from other parts of your own body
- Wear flip flops or sandals and avoid walking barefoot in damp, communal areas
- Let your feet dry completely before putting on socks
- Never share towels, socks, or footwear
- Walk barefoot where appropriate to thicken skin on foot and to wear off the virus
- Change your shoes and socks daily
- Keep your feet clean and dry
Most plantar warts aren’t a serious health concern and may only last a month or two. Treatments are usually done in Clinic as outpatient basis, and rarely at surgery centers for severe cases.