Bluebonnet Foot and Ankle Institute
Podiatrists located in Austin, TX
When you’re busy and on the go, a plantar wart can not only be a nuisance, it can also mean pain and discomfort, especially when walking. At Bluebonnet Foot and Ankle Institute, Babak Kaviani, DPM, or Liza Chabokrow, DPM, can evaluate your symptoms and advise the best treatment to get you back on your feet and to help prevent future infections. If you live in the area of Austin, Texas, you can book an appointment through the online scheduling system or call the office directly.
Warts Q & A
What is a wart?
Warts are tiny growths on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They're incredibly common and can occur on many areas of your body. One of these areas is your foot, and when the bottom of your foot comes in contact with HPV, you may develop what’s called a plantar wart.
Due to their location, plantar warts often cause discomfort, despite their small size. They usually grow on the weight-bearing portions of your feet — your soles and heels — making walking or standing unpleasant if you’re suffering from this condition.
How do I know if I have a plantar wart?
If you have a hard growth on the bottom of your foot, about the size of a pencil eraser, chances are you have a plantar wart. While normally warts grow outward from your top layer of skin, pressure from walking typically forces plantar warts to grow inward, giving them a flat appearance.
Some common signs and symptoms of warts are:
- Black specks, or pinpoints, caused by clotted blood vessels
- Thick skin
- Rough appearance
- Usually the size of a pencil eraser, but can have a two-inch diameter in extreme cases
- Color ranging from flesh-colored to gray-yellow or brown
- A mosaic appearance if multiple warts form together
In most cases, plantar warts are harmless, but occasionally they can mean a more serious condition.
Are plantar warts infectious?
Yes. The human papillomavirus is contagious, which means it’s easy for warts to spread if you aren’t careful. If you have a plantar wart, make sure to wash your hands after any direct contact. Your infection can spread to other parts of your body and to other people. Be especially mindful when:
- Sharing personal items, such as shoes and towels
- Touching your foot and then touching another area of your body
- Wearing someone else’s shoes
- Getting a massage
If you're conscientious and follow Dr. Kaviani’s or Dr. Chabokrow’s treatment recommendations, managing your plantar wart should be fairly simple.
How are plantar warts treated?
Often plantar warts are harmless and can be treated at home with self-care. While they can last anywhere from several months to several years, over-the-counter treatments from your local drugstore can minimize discomfort and help them heal.
At-home treatments for minor warts include:
- Soaking your foot and removing the protruding layer with a pumice stone
- A circular shaped moleskin bandage can be placed around the wart
- Salicylic acid wart removal solutions
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications
Although a conservative treatment approach is generally best for plantar warts, it’s not always the safest route. Seeking medical attention is recommended, especially if:
- You have diabetes and have poor foot sensation and circulation
- You take immune-suppressing drugs or have HIV/AIDS
- You’re experiencing bleeding
- The wart changes color
- Pain is disrupting your everyday activities
- You want the wart professionally removed
Depending on your condition, Dr. Kaviani or Dr. Chabokrow may recommend a more invasive treatment, such as excision of the wart tissue or freezing the area with cryotherapy. Make an appointment at Bluebonnet Foot and Ankle Institute to discuss your options. Scheduling is available online and by phone.