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Plantar Warts

What are Plantar Warts?

A wart is a small growth on the skin that develops when the skin is infected by a virus. Warts can develop anywhere on the foot, but they typically appear on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. Plantar warts most commonly occur in children, adolescents and the elderly.

There are two types of plantar warts:

  • A solitary wart is a single wart. It often increases in size and may eventually multiply, forming additional satellite warts.

  • Mosaic warts are a cluster of several small warts growing closely together in one area. Mosaic warts are more difficult to treat than solitary warts.

Causes

Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This is the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body.

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of a plantar wart may include:

  • Thickened skin. A plantar wart often resembles a callus because of its tough, thick tissue.

  • Pain. Walking and standing may be painful. Squeezing the sides of the wart may also cause pain.

  • Tiny black dots. These often appear on the surface of the wart. The dots are actually dried blood contained in the capillaries (tiny blood vessels). Plantar warts grow deep into the skin. Usually, this growth occurs slowly with the wart starting small and becoming larger over time.

Treatment

Although plantar warts may eventually clear up on their own, most patients desire faster relief. The goal of treatment is to completely remove the wart. Your foot and ankle surgeon from Tennessee Foot & Ankle Clinic may use topical or oral treatments, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), acid treatments or surgery to remove the wart.