Plantar Warts


What is a Wart?

A wart, also known as verruca, is a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. It can happen on the sole of the feet, which makes it uncomfortable or painful to walk.

What causes it?

It is caused by a virus called humanpapillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters the skin through tiny cuts, cracks or wet, softened spots on the bottom of your feet. Warts may spread by infecting the surrounding skin or by infecting walking surfaces; hence it is likely to develop a wart when using common shower areas such as those in gyms or swimming pools. They may fuse or develop into clusters called mosaic warts.



How do I know if I have a wart?

Warts are often mistaken as corns or callus due to a similar appearance. They are areas of hard skin growing on the skin surface. However, plantar warts usually have a cauliflower appearance with tiny black spots underlying. Plantar warts tend to be painful on pinching the sides of the lesion rather than direct pressure, whereas callus and corns are usually painful on direct pressure. Warts can self-resolve without treatment, but it may take one to two years. If it is causing pain or discomfort, it is recommended to seek treatment from a Podiatrist. It is not advisable to use over-the-counter medication for warts as they often damage the healthy surrounding skin.

Read this elucidative blog post here by our very own Principal Podiatrist Fiona Hu on how to differentiate between a corn and a wart!


How can Podiatry help?

A Podiatrist can debride the hard skin layers with a scalpel blade till the wart lesion is exposed. Pinpoint bleeding is expected when removing plantar warts. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the wart. In The Sole Clinic, the Podiatrist will engage in sharp verruca debridement and recommend treatment modalities of cryotherapy in conjunction with salicylic acid application, which is considered to be Class A evidence based practice. Plantar warts can be obstinately recalcitrant, therefore aggressive weekly treatment is recommended as the most effective way of treating plantar warts.