Plantar Wart (Verruca Plantaris)

What is a Plantar Wart?

When skin is infected by a virus a small growth develops on the skin.  The most common location is the bottom of the foot, but warts can develop anywhere on the body.  Warts can appear as a single wart, which often increases in size with time and may form additional warts and as a mosaic, which is a cluster of several small warts.  Mosaic warts are difficult to treat because there are many of them growing close together.

What causes a Plantar Wart?

Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV).  It is spread by skin to skin contact or with contact to a contaminated surface.  It is spread by scratching, shaving or other skin trauma. 

Symptoms of a Plantar Wart

Symptoms are pain when walking and standing.  The wart may be painful when squeezing the sides.  The skin becomes thick resembling a callus.  Tiny black dots appear on the surface of the wart, which are tiny blood vessels. 

Diagnosis of a Wart

A wart is commonly diagnosed by physical examination.  Common characteristics include red or black dots within the lesion that bleed when the lesion is shaved.  Skin lines go around the lesion.  There is pain when the lesion is squeezed from side to side as opposed to a callus, which is painful on direct pressure. 

Treatment of a Wart

There are many treatment options for warts.  An acid patch such as salicylic acid can be applied to the lesion, which usually takes several applications.  Anti-viral creams such as 5-Flurouracil can be applied to help the body’s immune response around the wart.  Dr. Fihman typically uses a highly effective treatment called Bleomycin which is an anti-cancer medication that is injected into the wart lesion.  She has also had great results with laser therapy which is done in the office by killing the virus with a custom temperature.  Surgical removal is indicated in large lesions.