Plantar warts are warts that occur on the bottom of the foot. They are very common and are produced by an infection of the skin by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The can affect anyone but are very common in children 12-16 years of age.
Plantar warts can often be painless but may be tender in areas of pressure or friction. Firm bumps on the foot with dark spots (blood vessels) and a ‘cauliflower-like’ appearance may indicate a wart. Several warts may fuse together to form a mosaic wart.
The human papillomavirus infects only the superficial layers of the skin and produces a thick callous-like growth. It spreads via direct contact.
Risk factors include: the use of public showers, skin cuts and a weakened immune system.
Plantar warts can be treated in many different ways including home remedies. In some cases, they may resolve by themselves, but treating them is preferred to prevent further spread of infection.
Multiple treatments may be required to ensure complete resolution of the wart.
Podiatry wart treatments include:
• Silver nitrate which is corrosive and destroys skin cells
• Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen) to freeze the wart
• Salicylic acid to burn the wart
• Cantherone plus which forms a blister under the wart and cuts off its blood supply
• Percutaneous needling, in which the wart is repetitively needled under local anaesthetic to disrupt pathological tissue and induce bleeding
Other end-stage treatments may include:
• Laser treatment to destroy the wart
• Curettage (cutting the wart out)
• Skin patches and medication to create an immune response