Table of Contents
What Is a Plantar Wart?
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.
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.
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. The doctor may use topical or oral treatments, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), acid treatments or surgery to remove the wart.
Regardless of the treatment approaches undertaken, it is important that the patient follow the doctor’s instructions, including all home care and medication that has been prescribed, as well as follow-up visits with the doctor. Warts are stubborn and may return, requiring further treatment.
If there is no response to treatment, further diagnostic evaluation may be necessary. In such cases, the doctor can perform a biopsy to rule out other potential causes for the growth.
Although many folk remedies for warts exist, patients should be aware that these remain unproven and may be dangerous in some cases. Patients should never try to surgically remove warts themselves- this can do more harm than good.