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Plantar Warts: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Feb 7, 2024

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Causes Of Plantar Warts

Transmission Of HPV Virus

Symptoms Of Plantar Warts

Risk Factors Of Plantar Warts

Diagnosis Of Plantar Warts

Treatment Of Plantar Warts


Prevention Of Plantar Warts

Complications Of Plantar Warts

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are small, rough growths on the bottom of the foot. They usually show up on the balls and heels of the feet since those are the parts that are subjected to the greatest amount of pressure. Under this strain, a wart may also grow within the tough, thick layer of skin known as a callus.

HPV is the root cause of plantar warts. This virus can enter through tiny cuts or fractures on the bottom of the foot.

Most plantar warts are not extremely hazardous and normally go away on their own, especially in children under the age of twelve. To get rid of them sooner, see your doctor or try self-care techniques.

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Causes Of Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are caused by an HPV infection in the skin's outer layer on the soles of the feet. Warts form as a result of the virus entering the foot through microscopic wounds, fractures, or weak spots. If treatment is not received, warts can persist for several years in adults and a few months to two years in children.

There are around 100 distinct varieties of HPV, and the virus is widely distributed. But only a few of these cause warts on the feet. Other types of HPV are more likely to create warts on mucous membranes or other places of your skin.

Also Read: Dermatographia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Transmission Of HPV Virus

Individuals with distinct immune systems respond to HPV in different ways. Not everyone who comes into contact with it develops warts. Even within the same family, the virus affects them in diverse ways.

HPV strains that cause plantar warts are not particularly contagious. It is very difficult for the virus to spread through direct human contact. Walking barefoot near swimming pools or locker rooms, however, increases your chance of catching the virus since it favors warm, humid surroundings. If the virus spreads from the site of the initial infection, further warts could appear.

Also Read: Xerosis (Dry Skin): Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Symptoms Of Plantar Warts

Plantar wart signs and symptoms include:

  • A small, rough growth located on the ball, heel, or base of your toes on the bottom of your foot
  • On skin that is dark and black, the growth could appear paler than on unaffected skin.
  • The skin has become tough and callused over a skin patch where a wart has grown inward.
  • Wart seeds are microscopic, black pinpoint-like blocked blood arteries.
  • A growth that obscures the skin's natural ridges and lines on your foot discomfort or soreness when standing or walking a group of growths on the sole of the foot known as mosaic warts

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Risk Factors Of Plantar Warts

Although anybody can get plantar warts, the following people are more likely to get one:

  • Children and teenagers
  • People whose immune systems are weakened
  • People who have previously had plantar warts
  • People who go barefoot in areas where the virus that causes warts is common, such as locker rooms and swimming pools

Also Read: Pruritus: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Diagnosis Of Plantar Warts

A doctor will usually examine a plantar wart or use a knife to remove the top layer and search for dots to diagnose it. The little specks are the blocked blood vessels. As an alternative, your doctor might remove a little piece of the growth and send it to be examined at a lab.

Also Read: Athlete's Foot: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Treatment Of Plantar Warts

Most plantar warts are benign and go away without treatment, however, it can take a year or two for children and much longer for adults. If you want to get rid of warts sooner and self-care methods aren't helping, go to your healthcare provider. Using one or more of the following therapies could be advantageous:

  • Frozen therapy (cryotherapy). Cryotherapy is a clinical procedure where liquid nitrogen is sprayed or administered to the wart using a cotton swab. Due to the potential discomfort of this surgery, your healthcare provider may first numb the area.
    • The freezing causes your wart to blister, and after approximately a week, the dead tissue peels off. Cryotherapy may strengthen your immune system to fight viral warts. You may need to return to the clinic for follow-up treatments every two to three weeks until the wart disappears. Blisters, discomfort, and long-term changes in skin tone (hypo- or hyperpigmentation) are all possible side effects of cryotherapy, particularly for people with dark or black skin.
  • Increased effectiveness of salicylic acid peeling drugs. Prescription-strength wart treatments that contain salicylic acid work by progressively removing the layers of a wart. Your doctor may likely encourage you to take the prescription as directed by them, with periodic office visits in between. It could take weeks to get rid of the wart with this method.


If salicylic acid and freezing medication don't work, your doctor might suggest one or more of the following treatments:

  • Minor medical treatments: Your healthcare provider extracts or eradicates the wart (electrodesiccation and curettage) with an electric needle. This process may be unpleasant, therefore before starting, your healthcare provider will numb your skin. Because surgery may leave scars, it is not a common treatment for plantar warts until all other options have been tried. A scar on the bottom of the foot may cause pain for years to come.
  • Blistering medicine: Your healthcare provider applies cantharidin, which causes a blister to form under the wart. You may need to return to the clinic in about a week to have the dead wart removed.
  • Immunotherapy: By strengthening your immune system, you can use medications or other treatments to fight viral warts. Your doctor might inject an antigen, or a foreign substance, or apply a lotion or solution to your warts.
  • Laser treatment: Pulsed dye laser therapy cauterizes (burns shuts) tiny blood vessels. When the infected tissue eventually dies, the wart finally comes off. This procedure must be repeated every two to four weeks. Your doctor will most likely first numb your skin.
  • Immunization: The HPV vaccine has been effectively used to treat warts, despite not being especially designed to combat the wart viruses that cause plantar warts.

If one plantar wart goes away after treatment but another one resurfaces, it could be because the area was exposed again to HPV.

Also Read: Erythema Infectiosum (Fifth’s Disease): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Prevention Of Plantar Warts

To try to keep plantar warts at bay:

  • Avoid coming into contact with warts directly. This includes even the warts on your own body. Wash your hands properly after handling a wart.
  • Ensure your feet are clean and dry.
  • Wear sandals or other foot protection whether you're in the gym showers, locker rooms, or sections with pools.
  • Warts should not be picked or scratched.

Also Read: Alopecia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Complications Of Plantar Warts

When plantar warts ache, you might not even realize that you're changing your usual gait or posture. Your muscles or joints may hurt as a result of this gradual change in your gait or stride.

Also Read: Epidermoid Cysts Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

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