Plantar Warts

A wart is an infection caused by a virus, which can invade your skin through small cuts or breaks. Over time, the wart develops into a hard, rough growth on the surface of the skin. A wart is most commonly seen on the bottom of the foot (plantar warts), but can also appear on the top. Children, teens, and people with allergies or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the wart virus.


Warts may appear spongy, with tiny red, brown, or black spots. They can grow up to an inch or more across, occurring alone (solitary) or with smaller warts clustered nearby (mosaic). Warts are sometimes mistaken for corns and calluses. They can persist for years and recur in the same spot. If left untreated, warts can spread to other parts of the foot or even to the hands or other areas of the body.

Physical Exam:

Your doctor will examine your wart carefully to determine that it is not a corn or callus. A wart will usually feel painful when your doctor squeezes it from side to side. To examine the wart further, the hard skin layer around it may need to be trimmed. A wart will have certain spots that bleed when trimmed; a callus will not.

Treatment of Warts:

There are many ways to treat warts, depending on their size and location. Medication or surgical removal, or both, may be effective treatments. Freezing or burning are a couple methods used to treat warts. Even after warts are removed, they may recur.

The wart is broken by applying an acidic medication. Blister-forming medication may also be used. Treatment may need to be repeated over several weeks.

The wart is removed with a small, spoon-shaped instrument (curette). To lessen pain, a local anesthetic is often used with this procedure.

The wart is vaporized using focused light energy produced by a laser. To lessen pain, a local anesthetic is often used with this procedure.

Plantar Warts

Preventing Warts:

Protect your feet from future infections by keeping them dry and clean. If you’re thinking of using over-the-counter medications for warts, ask your doctor first. Some of these treatments can damage skin—and may be dangerous if you have diabetes or poor circulation.
Avoid going barefoot in public places like showers, gyms, and locker rooms. The wart virus may spread easily in moist settings like these. Wear flip flops or sandals on your feet.