What Are Warts?

plantar wartsWarts are contagious benign skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Although warts can appear anywhere on the body, they're called plantar warts when they're present on the plantar region of the feet (i.e., the soles).  

Plantar warts tend to grow in clusters, known as mosaics, and may be sprinkled with black dots, called seeds. Seeds are smaller clusters of warts.

Another name for the common wart is verruca vulgaris. Warts can only live in the skin. Because warts are the result of a viral infection, they can be managed, but not cured.

How Did I Get Warts?

Contact with another wart spreads warts. Skin-to-skin is the most common form of transmission, but you can get a wart by touching an object that another person with a wart touched first.

You should always wear footwear in the gym, including in the shower and sauna areas, to prevent contracting warts. You can even spread your warts to other parts of your body.

How Can I Tell If I Have a Wart?

Plantar warts may feel like you have pebbles in your shoe. Plantar warts tend to look like thick, scaly skin and closely resemble calluses. You can differentiate plantar warts from calluses by pinching them: A wart hurts; a callus doesn’t.

Your podiatrist at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists diagnoses your warts based on their appearance. If the wart looks suspicious, your podiatrist performs a biopsy to rule out cancer.

What Are the Best Treatments for Warts?

Warts are not dangerous, but they are contagious. Without treatment, warts take weeks to months to resolve in children and even longer in adults.

Plantar warts usually don’t respond to over-the-counter treatments because the pressure of walking on your feet forces the wart to grow inward, not outward, making them difficult to treat topically. Your podiatrist may remove your plantar warts using one of the following methods:

  • Surgical excision. This treatment has the lowest rate of recurrence.
  • Topical acids. Recurrence is more likely with this treatment.

If you have a wart or other growths on your skin, have them evaluated as soon as possible by a podiatrist at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. Contact us today.