At best, plantar warts are unsightly formations that go away on their own. At worst, these warts may cause varying levels of discomfort and need to be treated. With a full array of treatment options, Dr. Adejoke Babalola, the Podiatrist of Perfect Footcare in New York City can help you decide on the best course of action for your case.

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What are plantar warts?

A wart is a small growth on the skin that develops when the skin is infected by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus. Plantar warts are named for their location — on the bottom (or plantar side) of the foot. Plantar warts are common and mostly occur in children, adolescents, and the elderly. The warts are harmless, considered benign, and most clear up on their own. Sometimes, warts can cause irritation and pain, especially when standing, and medical intervention may be necessary.

What are the signs and symptoms of plantar warts?

The signs and symptoms of a plantar wart may include:

Thickened skin: Often a plantar wart resembles a callus because the wart may grow inward creating tough, thick tissue in its wake, especially in weight-bearing areas of the foot like the ball or heel.

Pain: A plantar wart may hurt during walking and standing, and there’s pain when the sides of the wart are squeezed.

Tiny black dot: These often appear on the surface of the wart. The dots are dried blood contained in the infected capillaries (tiny blood vessels).

Plantar warts grow deep into the skin and slowly grow larger over time, especially if they aren’t treated.

When should I see a doctor about plantar warts?

Often, warts resolve themselves over time, usually 1-2 years. You should, however, make an appointment with Dr. Babalola if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Wart doesn’t go away
  • Warts grow and multiply
  • Warts are painful
  • You have diabetes or an immune disorder
  • Warts bleed

What are the treatments for plantar warts?

There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can be taken to diminish warts, but patience is key. It may take several months to see results.

If Dr. Babalola feels that stronger measures are required for resistant and persistent cases, she may recommend the following:

  • Acid treatment — the acid destroys the wart one layer at a time and requires several treatments
  • Cryotherapy — using liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart, which eventually falls off
  • Laser treatment — a laser is used to burn the wart
  • Minor surgery — the doctor destroys the wart with an electric needle