Plantar Warts or Verruca [Updated 2022]

What are Plantar Warts?

Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the outer layers of the skin on the feet of people with them.

There are hundreds of different types of HPV but only a couple of them will cause plantar warts.

Often warts will multiply with a large wart and several smaller warts.

Early on they appear as a small, dark, translucent puncture mark in the skin. 

Over time they grow and can have a cauliflower appearance. They also will often have a clear border around them.

As they come bigger they can cause some pain as the ones on the bottom of the feet (plantar) will push into the skin.

Plantar warts are generally not a danger but in patient’s with compromised blood flow (peripheral vascular disease or PVD) or peripheral neuropathy from diabetes, chemotherapy or other cause. 

In these cases they may cause a wound which will need urgent care.

What Do Plantar Warts Look Like?

To the right is a magnified photo of a developed plantar wart with callous overlying the rim and the centre also.

Due to pressure from standing on the, plantar warts will develop callous over the top of them for protection, unfortunately this can become a problem itself and cause pain if it becomes too thick.


A drawing in detail of a plantar wart or verruca plantaris

What Causes Plantar Warts?

Warts will normally occur after the virus has found a portal of injury.

This could be a very small cut or sore on the bottom of your foot.

The virus loves a warm moist environment and this is why it’s often thought that they are picked up from wet concrete in public pools or restrooms.

Types of Plantar Warts or Verruca

  • Mosaic warts are a group of multiple, small, tightly, packed individual warts and may not be painful. 
  • Whereas plantar warts are single or multiple warts and are usually painful. 
  • Periungual warts may develop around the nail edge leading to distortion of the nail. These are often confused with corns (particularly neurovascular corns). 
Cartoon of a papilloma virus that causes plantar warts

How are Warts Diagnosed?

Some of the common signs of a lesion being a plantar wart are:

  • pain with squeezing the sides of the wart inwards,
  • a circumscribed border when looked at under a magnifier,
  • an interruption of the skin lines which will go around the wart (when looked at under a magnifier),
  • a cauliflower appearance – lots of little dots in a pattern.

So Who Gets Plantar Warts?

3 pairs of feet in a family

Anybody can get warts but they are more common in the following two groups:

  • young people who tend to have a more immature immune system,
  • those with an compromised immune system for a variety of reasons.

How Are Plantar Warts Treated?

There are many different treatments for plantar warts but what they all have in common is that they are a way of destroying infected tissue.

It’s believed that when disturbed significantly the immune system detects the virus and then mobilises forces against it and eradicate it from the body.

Here are some of the most common methods used to treat plantar warts.

  • chemical treatment using salicylic acid or silver nitrate – which we offer at Dynamic Podiatry,
  • cryotherapy using a nitrogen pen,
  • duct tape left on for a few days,
  • microwave therapy.

Need Help with Plantar Warts?

If you need help with plantar warts, we’re here for you.

We can discuss options and help you to decide what will best suit your lifestyle.

Call 3351 8878 or click on the button below to book online.

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