You are walking down the street one day and feel as if you are stepping on a pebble. However, when you go to remove your shoe, you notice there are no rocks in there. You keep walking and still feel as if you are walking pebbles. Finally, you decide to take off your sock and notice what look like several calluses on the bottom of your foot, but with black dots – you could have a case of plantar warts.
About Plantar Warts
Plantar warts (verruca plantaris) are skin lesions occurring on the bottom of your feet and are caused by specific strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) from viral entry through small cuts, or other breaks in your feet. These particular warts considered to be an epidermal lesion (only of the superficial later of skin) and are common to find in areas of the foot where pressure and friction are increased (i.e. heel, ball of the foot). As a result, these warts can become tender and painful to walk on. Plantar warts have unique features to help distinguish it from other foot ailments such as:
- Tiny black dots (commonly called “wart seeds”), indicating a small, clotted blood supply – these could cause a small amount of bleeding
- Well-defined edges around the wart – your normal skin lines will not appear on the wart, but instead be moved aside
- More than one wart in the same region of your foot or in multiple areas
- The wart(s) may have the appearance of a cauliflower vegetable or present as a mosaic pattern
- The wart(s) could be more tender when you push it on the sides rather than directly on the top
At-Risk Groups and Treatment Options
People of all age groups can develop plantar warts but are most commonly seen in children and teenagers, people who have previously had plantar warts, and people with weakened immune systems.
Finding the right treatment for your plantar warts can be a challenge due to chance of recurrence of the warts. However, there are a large number of treatments options available to those who have plantar warts, ranging from at-home treatments to laser or surgical excision depending on the needs of the patient.
When to See Your Podiatrist
- When you or your family members have warts and desire to have them removed
- It becomes painful to walk or you notice bleeding, redness, and swelling
- The warts reappear after previous treatments have not worked
If you or your family members think you might have plantar warts, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona, and have all of your treatment options presented to you to ensure you continue to maintain happy, healthy feet.