Symptoms and Signs of Plantar Warts

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 2/21/2022

Doctor's Notes on Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are warts that arise on the sole or plantar surface of the foot. Warts in general are localized growths in the skin caused by infection with certain types of the human papillomaviruses (HPVs). The HPVs that cause warts are different types of viruses that can cause cancers of the cervix and anogenital organs. Skin warts are benign and can be found anywhere in the body. 

Symptoms of plantar warts include

  • flat growths on the bottoms of the feet.
  • The plantar wart may grow inward due to the presence of weight-bearing pressure on the foot and resultant thickening of the skin. 
  • The wart may appear grainy or rough and may contain black pinpoint dots.
  • Many plantar warts cause pain or tenderness when pressure is applied to the foot such as walking or standing.

How are plantar warts treated?

Most warts go away on their own without treatment over the course of 1-2 years. If the wart is painful or bothersome, treatments are available to remove the wart. Treatments for plantar warts can include:

  • Over-the-counter medications containing salicylic acid that gradually dissolve the wart
  • Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen to remove the wart, either done by a healthcare provider or using a weaker strength over-the-counter kit
  • Removal by a physician using laser or electric current
  • Immune therapies or drug injections for severe cases

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.