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Plantar Warts

Warts are one of several soft tissue conditions of the foot. They are a growth on the skin caused by a virus, the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

They affect all ages, but are most common in children and teenagers.

Warts can be tender, especially on weight-bearing surfaces, such as the bottom of the feet (these are called plantar warts).

Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat with a rough surface and well defined boundaries. There may be pinpoint black areas in the lesion. Warts on the top of the foot or toes tend to be raised and fleshier.

If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of several warts (mosaic warts). Occasionally, warts can disappear on their own, but may recur in the same location or elsewhere on the foot. It is possible for more serious lesions to appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as melanomas or carcinomas. Although rare, these conditions can be misidentified as a wart.

Therefore, it is important to consult a podiatric physician for any lesions of the foot for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Generally warts respond very well to conservative treatment, including oral medication, cauterization and topical antiviral medications. Surgical excision should be considered a last resort.

Warts are not highly contagious, so cannot easily be transmitted by direct contact. They are rarely spread among family members. They thrive in warm, moist environments. Consequently, you may contact the virus by walking barefoot around swimming pools and locker rooms.

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