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Information About Plantar Warts

Jan 25, 2017


Plantar warts (aka flat warts) are hard skin growths that occur on the bottom of the foot. These non-cancerous growths are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Although there are many different varieties of HPV, not all varieties cause warts on the feet. Once you contract these warts, getting rid of them can be a battle. Therefore, knowing how to avoid the virus altogether is your best bet. However, if you already have plantar warts, the physicians at our Long Island Medical Center can help you get rid of them.

How HPV is Transmitted

While the strains of HPV that cause plantar warts are not highly contagious, they can be transferred from one person to the next. This virus thrives in warm and moist environments. These environments include public locker rooms, public showers and the areas around public pools. Anyone can contract these warts. However, children are at high risk because they frequently have a cut, scrape or crack on their feet. Furthermore, softened skin on the feet from spending a lot of time in the water can lead to an HPV infection. People who have weakened immune systems are also more vulnerable to contracting flat warts.

Recognizing Plantar Warts

Initially, plantar warts appear as small, grainy bumps on the bottom of the foot. These bumps may be covered with what appears to be a callus, especially if located on an area of the foot that frequently receives pressure. Extremely small black specks may be visible inside the wart. These are tiny blood vessels that ruptured and then formed a clot. The location of the wart determines whether or not it is painful and tender. If you already have a plantar wart, do not scratch or pick it. Instead, contact Peconic Bay Medical Center at (631) 548-6000 to make an appointment with one of our physicians.

Plantar Warts Are Also Called Flat Warts

Due to the pressure placed on the areas of the foot where these warts frequently grow, plantar warts often grow inward. For this reason, they appear flat and are also referred to as flat warts. Plantar warts grow slowly and can eventually grow deep enough to cause pain and/or discomfort while walking or standing.

What a Plantar Wart Feels Like

A flat wart might make it feel as if you are continuously stepping on a pebble. Many times, these warts are mistaken for calluses. To determine whether you have a plantar wart or a callus, simply squeeze the area. If it hurts when you squeeze it and you notice black dots on the surface, you have a flat wart.

Preventing Flat Warts

While there is no foolproof way to keep from contracting warts, there are ways you can reduce your chances of contracting them.

Tips for Preventing Plantar Warts

  • Wear sandals or flip flops when using a public shower, locker room or when you are near a public pool.
  • Do not share towels or clothing with individuals who have a wart.
  • Avoid touching someone else’s wart.
  • Keep your feet dry

Treating Plantar Warts

There are several different treatments available for flat warts, from over-the-counter wart treatments to doctor treatments. Consult with your primary care physician for the treatment that is best for you, or speak with a Peconic Bay Medical Center primary care physician.