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Plantar Warts (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

Call your doctor if simple home therapy fails to resolve the problem. Usually a primary-care doctor can adequately treat plantar warts. If treatment under a family physician's care fails to work satisfactorily, a referral to a dermatologist (a skin specialist) may be necessary.

Corns and calluses, which can resemble warts, usually develop very gradually over several years. It is wise to consult a physician when you are unsure whether you have a plantar wart or another condition, such as a corn, callus, nevus (mole), or another type of skin lesion.

Most such growths are harmless, but some may pose a significant health risk. It is also possible for a variety of more serious lesions to appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as carcinomas and melanomas. Although rare, these conditions can sometimes be misidentified as a wart.

  • Seek medical attention for these conditions when
    • you or your child have warts and want them removed;
    • severe pain, redness, swelling, bleeding, or large lesions develop;
    • removal by a physician by freezing or burning is desired;
    • warts don't disappear completely after treatment;
    • other warts appear after treatment.

Plantar warts are rarely an emergency; however, the complications of aggressive therapy can be bleeding, severe pain, inability to walk, redness, swelling, streaking, and boil or abscess formation, which can all indicate an emergency.

Plantar Warts Diagnosis

The diagnosis is typically made by observing the wart. If in doubt, the physician may send a tissue sample of the wart to a pathologist for examination.

The doctor may consider other problems that may cause a similar appearance, such as corns, calluses, or black heel (ruptured capillaries).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2014

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Plantar warts are hyperkeratotic lesions on the plantar surface.

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