Plantar warts can be mistaken for corns or calluses, which are areas of skin that thicken in response to repeated pressure or friction. However, a plantar wart is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and is contagious. Plantar warts appear as are hard, grainy growths, usually on the weight-bearing areas of the foot (e.g. heel, ball of foot). Sometimes, warts disappear on their own, but can also recur. If you have diabetes, circulatory problems, poor sensation in your feet, or a weakened immune system, it’s important to see a podiatrist right away.
The virus, HPV, that causes plantar warts commonly enters your body through tiny cuts and breaks in the skin on your feet. The infection is most often spread via contact, such as touching and scratching. The virus flourishes in humid spaces, like lockers rooms and the areas around swimming pools. Additional warts may develop from the first point of contact if the virus spreads.
If you have a plantar wart, you may feel as if you have a stone in your shoe. Common signs and symptoms include:
- A small, grainy growth on the bottom of your foot
- Black pinpoints in the growth. These are commonly called wart ‘seeds’ but are actually tiny blood vessels
- Pain or tenderness when walking or standing, especially when bearing down on the area
While waiting to keep your medical appointment, do not touch or scratch the wart; if you happen to touch the infected area, wash your hands immediately. Keep your feet clean and dry, and wear properly-fitted sandals or shoes in moist floor areas like the gym. Check children’s feet periodically for signs of warts.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Warts are contagious and often painful, so it is important to consult a podiatrist as soon as possible for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment. For your convenience, our Advanced Foot Care Centers medical practice has six locations in our communities in Tennessee (Hixson and Chattanooga) and Georgia (Ft. Oglethorpe and Dalton). You can reach us at any location by phone or online appointment request. One of our five podiatrists will evaluate your condition and ensure that you receive timely treatment (e.g. medication, freezing the wart, laser, surgery). At every step of your treatment, we’ll work closely with you to reclaim your normal activities as quickly as possible.