Plantar warts (verruca plantaris) are skin lesions on the feet or toes caused by the human papillomavirus. These lesions often appear as small, raised areas of skin that may be discoloured, painful or possibly itchy.
Plantar warts are usually transmitted via moist walking surfaces such as showers, swimming pools, change rooms etc. The virus usually enters the skin through small cuts or abrasions and due to pressure on the sole of the foot a layer of hard skin or callous forms over the top.
Plantar warts can often be mistaken for callous (hyperkeratosis) or corns (heloma durum) and therefore it is important to have any lesions inspected by your podiatrist in order to ensure that the appropriate treatment is commenced.
Whilst some warts will be self-limiting, resolving over time, plantar warts are often painful due to their location and require active treatment. Some treatment options include:
- Keratolysis or the use of chemicals such as salicylic acid
- Cryosurgery or freezing of the wart using various techniques
- Surgical removal of the wart
- Immunotherapy for recalcitrant warts
Plantar warts can often require repeated treatment in order to achieve complete resolution.