Warts are actually a benign growth in the surface layers of the skin caused by a virus. There are many different types of viruses that cause warts, from the top of your head to the bottom (plantar surface) of your foot. The virus can invade the skin through a small cut or break in the outer layer of skin, and if your body is unable to kill the virus via its immune system, a wart may develop.

Children and people with allergies or weakened immune systems are most vulnerable to forming warts. Warts can be solitary, or clustered together (mosaic warts). Their texture is spongy and many times have tiny black spots imbedded in the tissue. These spots are thrombosed capillaries. This is why warts bleed easily: they have many blood vessels imbedded in them. Treatment of warts varies according to their symptoms, size, and number.

Acid medication may be applied to reduce the thickness of the wart, eventually killing the virus. Surgical excision is performed many times on solitary warts. More commonly, however, laser ablation (vaporization) is used. All of these methods can be done in the office with the use of a local anesthetic when necessary.

After surgical or laser treatment of warts, there is a short recovery time including home soaking of the surgical wound and application of an antibiotic cream. Return to normal activity is usually within two to three days with complete healing within three to four weeks.

We’re here to help you. For more information, or to make an appointment, please contact the physicians of Southern California Foot and Ankle Center, at any of our convenient locations.

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 incircumference 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.