Plantar Warts

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What is Plantar Wart?

A wart is characterized as a small growth within the skin that develops when the skin is infected by a virus. They can appear anywhere on the foot, but typically they are seen on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. Plantar warts are most commonly seen in children and adolescents.

Plantar Warts are caused by trauma to the foot with direct contact with the human papilloma virus(HPV). Typically, the virus is acquired walking barefoot in public places such as locker rooms, swimming pools, or after a previous episode of trauma like stepping on a splinter or a piece of glass.

Types of Warts:

  • A solitary wart is a single isolated wart and often will increase in size and has the potential of multiplying forming what are known as “satelite warts”.
  • Mosaic warts are several small warts growing closely together as clusters in one area.  Mosaic warts are more difficult to eradicate and can be recalcitrant to treatment.

Symptoms of Plantar Warts

Thickened skin -often Plantar Warts resemble a callus because of its thick tissue.

Pain – a Plantar Wart generally hurts during walking and standing especially if the wart is beneath a weight bearing bone. There is also exquisite pain when the sides of the wart are squeezed.

Visible tiny black dots – the dots often appear on the surface of the wart and are actually blood within the capillaries (blood vessels) of the wart.

Lack of skin lines- Plantar Warts interrupt the normal skin lines (like fingerprints).


Treatments may include:

  • Topical chemotherapeutic medication(60% salacylic acid, trichloroacetic acid)
  • Cryotherapy( freezing)
  • Pulse Dye Laser (PDL)- latest state of the art. The PDL works by shining a beam of laser light on the wart, often without a local anesthetic that destroys the blood supply of the wart and it eventually disappears.Treatment take less than 30 seconds and is safe for children and adults. This new laser works by shinning a high powered beam of light onto the wart. The energy from the light is absorbed into the blood of the wart which eventually destroys it. Treatment does not require painful injections, no post operative dressing, no bleeding, and takes less than 60 seconds followed by minimal discomfort. This procedure is safe for children and adults.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser ablation
  • Oral medications to boost the immune system (Cimetadine, Vitamin A 10,000u, Zinc 15mg)

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