Plantar warts are benign (noncancerous) growths that occur on the sole, heel, or ball of the foot. Most plantar warts are diagnosed based on their appearance. They are generally rough and spongy, and most are gray, brown, or yellow with dark dots in the center. While you likely heard as a child that these are the "seeds" of the wart, they are not--the little black dots are simply dried blood in your capillaries.
What Are Plantar Warts?
Plantar warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) invading the body through the skin on the bottom of the feet, typically through cuts or breaks. The virus often is present on contaminated surfaces, such as the tile floors of public locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools.
Some individuals are more prone to the virus that causes plantar warts than other people. Risk factors include:
- Repeated HPV exposure. For example, walking barefoot in public locker rooms and common public areas.
- Having a weakened immune system.
When first diagnosed, individuals often feel a “lump” on the bottom of the foot when standing, similar to having a stone in their shoe. If left untreated, plantar warts can grow up to 1 inch in circumference and may spread into clusters (called mosaic warts). In severe cases, they cause a change in gait or posture that results in leg or back pain.
If you suffer from plantar warts, schedule an appointment with our practice. We can diagnose and treat your warts to remove them fast, and advise you on how to protect against them in the future.