Plantar Wart (Verruca Plantaris)

What are Plantar Warts?

A wart is known as a small growth on the skin that develops when the skin is infected by a virus. Warts can develop anywhere on the foot through contact with an infected area (typically, during a visit to a public pool, or through public showers).

What types of Plantar Warts Are There?

There are two dominant types of plantar warts:

–        Solitary Wart: a single wart that often increases in size and eventually multiples forming additional, smaller warts around the infected surface

–        Mosaic Wart: a cluster of small warts that are growing closely together in one specific area. Mosaic warts are typically more difficult to treat then solitary warts

Causes and Symptoms

Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body. These strains of HPV are harmless, but can cause severe pain and are aesthetically unappealing to most people.

Plantar warts have similar characterisitcs of other warts; they are typically associated with the thickening of the skin. However, plantar warts are usually associated with pain, either through direct pressure as a result of walking or standing, or through addition of pressure, such as by pressing or squeezing along the sides of the warts. In addition, the key distinctive feature of plantar warts is tiny black dots that are actually dried blood contained in the capillaries. They are found on the surface of the wart and usually can be seen by the naked eye.

Characteristically, plantar warts grow very deep into the skin. Usually this growth occurs slowly, with the wart starting off small and becoming larger over a period of time. Typically warts could go away after several years, but most often, because they grow very deep into the skin, will grow uncontrollably until treated appropriately.

Diagnosis and Treatment

To diagnose a plantar wart, the chiropodist will examine the patient’s foot and look for signs and symptoms of a wart. The goal of treatment is to remove the wart completely, through any one of the following methods:

–        Topical treatments

–        Cryotherapy (freezing)

–        Acid treatments

–        Or a small surgery to remove the wart

Although there are many folk remedies for warts, patients should be aware that these remain unproven and may be dangerous. Patients should never try to remove warts themselves. This can do more harm than good.