Certain viruses can cause infections leading to small growths, or warts, on the skin. Warts can develop anywhere on the foot, but normally appear on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. Plantar warts, small growths on the bottom of the foot, most commonly occur in children, adolescents, and the elderly. Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV), the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body. Plantar warts grow deep into the skin, usually growing slowly, starting out small, but becoming larger over time.
There are two types of plantar warts, solitary warts and mosaic warts. Solitary warts are single warts. The wart often grows, increasing in size, and can eventually multiply, forming additional, satellite, warts. A cluster of several small warts growing close together in a small area are called mosaic warts, and are more difficult to treat that solitary warts.
A plantar wart can look a lot like a callus because it’s made of tough, thick tissue. Unlike most calluses though, warts may cause pain during walking or standing. Squeezing the sides of the wart might also be painful. Often, you’ll see tiny black dots on the surface of the wart; these are actually dried blood in the tiny blood vessels, or capillaries, in the foot.
Although plantar warts may eventually clear up on their own, most patients prefer faster relief. The goal of treatment is to completely remove the wart. Options include: topical or oral treatments, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), acid treatments, or surgery to remove the wart. Consult with your podiatrist to determine the best solution for your particular case. If the warts return, further treatment is available. Although you may have heard of home remedies, realize that some of these “remedies” are unproven, and could be dangerous. Trying to remove warts yourself can do more harm than good.