are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot that can
be quite painful. They are caused by a virus, which generally
invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions.
They can appear anywhere on the skin, but, technically, only those
on the sole are properly called plantar warts. Children, especially
teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults; some
people seem to be immune.
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. The wart, however, is a viral infection.
warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined
boundaries; warts are generally raised and fleshier when they
appear on the top of the foot or on the toes. Plantar warts are
often gray or brown (but the color may vary), with a center that
appears as one or more pinpoints of black. It
is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment
and have a tendency to reoccur.
of the Virus
plantar wart is often contracted by walking barefoot on dirty
surfaces or littered ground where the virus is lurking. The causative
virus thrives in warm, moist environments, making infection a
common occurrence in communal bathing facilities.
left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference
and can spread into clusters of several warts; these are often
called mosaic warts. 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.
warts can spontaneously disappear after a short time, and, just
as frequently, they can recur in the same location.
plantar warts develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot—the
ball of the foot, or the heel, for example—they can be the source
of sharp, burning pain. Pain occurs when weight is brought to
bear directly on the wart, although pressure on the side of a
wart can create equally intense pain.