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What are Warts?

Warts are a soft tissue condition that can pain in the foot. They can appear anywhere on the body and are usually caused by a virus. The name plantar warts are used for those appearing on the foot. Some people appear immune to warts but the younger generation seem to be more susceptible to getting warts.


Usually warts appear after a virus invades the skin through a small cut or abrasion. Walking barefoot on dirty surfaces can be the source of a virus. Viruses like warm or moist type environments. Warts can enlarge to an inch or more in diameter. Plantar warts can spread by touching. They can also bleed creating another way for them to spread. They can disappear and then reappear in the same location or vicinity.


Warts can be painful but most often harmless in nature. Upon first examination a wart can look like a callous or a corn. Their appearance is with well defined boundaries and can be flat and hard to the touch. Plantar warts can have a variety of colors greyish or brown often the center can be black.

Warts can frequently reoccur and be difficult to eliminate.

Warts can be most painful when they appear on the ball of the foot or heel for example. The pain can be sharp or burning. 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.

Home Care

Trying to treat warts with an over the counter medication is not advised. A professional can best treat a wart without destroying the normal tissue around the site of the wart. Self-treatment with such medications especially should be avoided by people with diabetes and those with cardiovascular or circulatory disorders. You should never use these medications in the presence of an active infection.

When should you visit your Podiatrist?

It is wise to consult a Board certified Podiatrist when any rapidly change in your skin or a growth or eruption is detected on the skin to be certain about your diagnosis. Other more serious lesions can appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as carcinomas and melanomas. Sometimes these conditions can be misidentified as a wart.

Getting a wart diagnosed and treated

Your podiatric physician will prescribe and supervise your use of a wart-removal preparation. Usually removal of warts by a simple surgical procedure, performed under local anesthetic, may be indicated.

Lasers are often used in treating a wart. CO2 laser cautery is performed under local anesthesia either in your podiatrists office surgical setting or an outpatient surgery facility. The laser reduces scarring and is a safe form for eliminating wart lesions.

Wart prevention

  • Avoid walking barefoot particularly where you risk cuts or scrapes of the skin.
  • Change shoes and socks frequently.
  • Keep feet dry and clean.
  • Check your children’s feet often.
  • Avoid direct contact with warts from other persons
  • Do not ignore any changes in your skin.
  • Visit a podiatric physician as a normal part of your healthcare


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Dr. Gregory M. Jansyn