Plantar Warts

What are plantar warts?

A wart is a thick growth on the skin resulting from a viral infection. Warts can develop anywhere on the body, but warts that occur on the bottom (plantar) of the foot are referred to as plantar warts. Plantar warts occur in two types, solitary warts and mosaic. Solitary warts are a single wart that typically grows in size and can multiply. Mosaic warts are clusters of small warts and are more difficult to treat than solitary warts. 

It is common to see small black dots with plantar warts, which is dried blood from capillaries. Plantar warts can cause pain while walking or standing. 

Causes

Plantar warts are caused by the same virus which causes warts all over the body, the  the human papilloma virus (HPV). Contact with HPV is most likely the result of contact while barefoot in several common areas where water is present, such as shared showers, pools and gym locker rooms. 

Treatments

While plantar warts can clear up on their own this is usually a slow process. Plantar wart treatment options may include:

  • Topical Medications - a common first treatment, most over the counter products contain high concentrations of salicylic acid.

  • Oral Medications - several different oral medications and dietary supplements are used to treat plantar warts. Your podiatrist will advise you of the proper oral medication for you depending on several individual factors.

  • Cryotherapy - freezing of the tissue of the wart is a common in office treatment. This treatment aims to destroy the virus causing the warts.

  • Laser Therapy - results are typically seen in 1 to 3 treatments. 

  • Surgical Removal - if conservative treatment methods fail then surgical removal of the wart may be recommended. 

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