A wart is a small growth on the skin that develops when the skin is infected by a virus. Most foot warts are harmless, even though they may be painful. They are often mistaken for corns or calluses , which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated. A wart, however, is caused by a viral infection which invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. Foot warts are generally raised and fleshy. Warts can appear anywhere on the foot or toes but typically appear on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. Occasionally, warts can spontaneously disappear after a short time, and then, just as frequently, they recur in the same location. If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of warts. The elderly, children, and teenagers tend to be more susceptible to warts.

Plantar warts appear on the soles of the feet and are one of several soft tissue conditions that can be quite painful. Unlike other foot warts, plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. They are often gray or brown (but the color may vary), with a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black.

There are two types of plantar warts:

  • A solitary wart is a single wart. It often increases in size and may eventually multiply, forming additional satellite warts.
  • Mosaic warts are a cluster of several small warts growing closely together in one area. Mosaic warts are more difficult to treat than solitary warts.


Plantar warts are often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or littered ground. The virus that causes plantar warts thrives in warm, moist environments, making infection a common occurrence in public pools and locker rooms. Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. The wart may also bleed, another route for spreading.


The symptoms of a plantar wart may include:

  • Thickened skin. A plantar wart has tough, thick tissue.
  • Pain. When warts develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot, it can cause a sharp burning pain especially when walking and standing. Squeezing the sides of the wart may also cause pain.
  • Color. Plantar warts are often gray or brown with a center that appears as one or more pinpoints of black.These tiny black dots are actually dried blood contained in the capillaries (tiny blood vessels).


It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to recur. Over-the-counter foot wart treatments are usually ineffective because their use can inadvertently destroy surrounding healthy tissue. Treatment methods may include:

  • Topical or Oral Treatments
  • Laser Therapy
  • Freezing
  • Acid Treatments
  • Surgery

To effectively remove the wart, it is imperative that the patient follows the instructions given by their Foot and Ankle Surgeon . If all the medication and home care that is prescribed is not completed, the warts can return and require more treatment.

Sometimes a wart may not respond to the treatment given. In this case, more tests may be necessary including a biopsy to rule out other causes for the growth.

Use caution if trying home remedies for warts. Home remedies have not been proven to work and may be dangerous to use. Do not attempt to remove the wart yourself, this also can cause damage.


To prevent the spread of warts, follow these tips:
  • Avoid direct contact with warts, both from other persons or from other parts of the body.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, except on sandy beaches.
  • Change your shoes and socks daily.
  • Check your children’s feet periodically.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.

If you are experiencing problems with warts, please contact Dr. Kylin Kovac for help in effectively treating warts. Our practice is expert in recommending the best treatment for each patient, ranging from prescription ointments or medications to, in the most severe cases, laser cautery. At Idaho Foot and Ankle Center, you will receive the highest quality of care and an excellent healthcare experience!

Some content provided by The ACFAS.