Plantar warts are small growths on the bottom of the foot. Like all warts, they’re caused by a virus that gets into the skin through tiny cuts or scrapes. Plantar warts are more common in children. Adults build resistance to the virus as they get older.
Plantar warts are harmless and may go away without treatment. They’re also contagious. They can be spread in showers, gyms and athletic facilities, swimming pools or by sharing shoes with someone.
You can get a small, single wart or clusters of warts that look like callouses. The way to tell the difference between a wart and a callous is to pinch the skin. If it’s painful, it’s probably a wart. A doctor can diagnose a wart by examining it.
Usually plantar warts are harmless and go away without treatment. You can also try over-the-counter medications. But often these don’t work because they can’t penetrate the thick skin on the bottom of the feet.
Professional treatments include:
- Burning the wart off with acids applied to the skin
- Freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen
- Removing the wart with a laser (best for a large number of warts)
- Cutting out the wart
Cutting warts out has the highest rate of success and a low rate of coming back. Complete healing typically takes a few weeks.