plantar wart

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are small growths that usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet. This pressure may also cause plantar warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus).

Plantar warts are caused by HPV. The virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet.

Symptoms

Plantar wart signs and symptoms include:

  • A small, fleshy, rough, grainy growth (lesion) on the bottom of your foot, usually the base of the toes and forefoot or the heel.
  • Hard, thickened skin (callus) over a well-defined “spot” on the skin, where a wart has grown inward.
  • Black pinpoints, which are commonly called wart seeds but are actually small, clotted blood vessels.
  • A lesion that interrupts the normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot.
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing.

Causes

Plantar warts are caused by an infection with HPV in the outer layer of skin on the soles of your feet. They develop when the virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottoms of your feet.

HPV is very common, and more than 100 kinds of the virus exist. But only a few of them cause warts on the feet. Other types of HPV are more likely to cause warts on other areas of your skin or on mucous membranes.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop plantar warts, but this type of wart is more likely to affect:

  • Children and teenagers.
  • People with weakened immune systems.
  • People who have had plantar warts before.
  • People who walk barefoot where exposure to a wart-causing virus is common, such as locker rooms.

Prevention

To reduce your risk of plantar warts:

  • Avoid direct contact with warts. This includes your own warts. Wash your hands carefully after touching a wart.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry. Change your shoes and socks daily.
  • Avoid walking barefoot around swimming pools and locker rooms.
  • Don’t pick at or scratch warts.

Diagnosis

  • Examining the lesion.
  • Paring the lesion with a scalpel and checking for signs of dark, pinpoint dots — tiny clotted blood vessels.
  • Removing a small section of the lesion (shave biopsy) and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.

Treatment

Most plantar warts are harmless and go away without treatment, though it may take a year or two. If your warts are painful or spreading, you may want to try treating them with over-the-counter (nonprescription) medications or home remedies

  • Stronger peeling medicines.
  • Freezing medicines cryotherapy.
  • Immune therapy.
  • Surgery.
  • Laser treatment.

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